Chilling details of tragic YouTube prank death emerge

The gun used in a YouTube prank that went horribly wrong was "one of the most powerful semi-automatic handguns in the world", it has been revealed.

Monalisa Perez, 19, faces charges of manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm after shooting her 22-year-old boyfriend Pedro Ruiz in the chest from only 30cm away, killing him.

The bullet was supposed to be stopped by an encyclopaedia, but the gun the Minnesota pair chose was a .50 calibre Desert Eagle pistol. Made famous in game franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Far Cry, the Desert Eagle is far more powerful than most other pistols of a comparable size.

Perez and Mr Ruiz were trying to get more viewers for their three-month-old YouTube channel, where the posted videos of pranks and family life.

In May, they uploaded a clip in which Perez revealed they were pregnant.

While many of their videos had tens of thousands of views, they intended the bullet stunt to be their breakthrough hit.

"I said, don't do it, don't do it," Mr Ruiz' aunt Claudia told Valley News Live. "Why are you going to use a gun?"

"We want more viewers," he told her.

Perez didn't want a bar of it at first, relenting after Mr Ruiz showed her a book he'd shot which stopped a bullet.

An hour-and-a-half before the stunt, Perez tweeted they were "probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever", adding that it was "HIS idea not MINE".

The ill-fated stunt was carried out as neighbours watched from afar.

Neighbour Wayne Cameron told WDAY-TV everyone "was crying".

"I was standing behind that tree over there. And that was it. I just couldn't take it anymore so I had to go back home."

If it worked, the plan was to create a new YouTube channel for Mr Ruiz, which would focus on the crazy stunts, while Perez' channel would stick to documenting life as a teen mother.

"I wish they wouldn't have done it," Claudia Ruiz said.

"I wish he would've just done another prank. He was so young. He had so much going for himself."

Another of Mr Ruiz' aunts, Lisa Primeau, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune her nephew liked to put "a dangerous twist on everything he did".  She "pretty much raised" Ruiz because his mother died when he was young.

"We called him our little daredevil."

Despite the fact she shot their nephew dead, both aunts say they're supporting Perez.

"She has to live with that. It's the worst punishment she can get," Ms Primeau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

If convicted, Perez faces up to 10 years in prison.