Lady Gaga’s dog walker has recounted in grisly detail the moment he took a bullet as he tried to save the pop star’s pups from being dognapped.
Ryan Fischer appeared before a grand jury months after the singer’s two French bulldogs were stolen in Los Angeles, California.
He recalled how his shooter leapt out of a car and “threw” him onto a concrete embankment, demanding he hand over Gaga’s three dogs, Asia, Gustav and Koji.
Seeing one of the men lunge for Koji, Fischer told jurors he struck the man with a champagne bottle he purchased earlier.
“The dog screamed at me, and I reached for him and then the guy, the man with the gun, shot me as I was reaching,” Fischer said according to the 26 October 2021 unsealed transcript obtained Thursday (24 March) by Rolling Stone.
Fischer collapsed on the pavement as his attackers fled with Gustav and Koji in a white Nissan Sentra.
“I immediately tried to call for help but realised I was bleeding out of my lung and that I was losing more and more air quickly,” he said.
“And the other dog, Asia, came to my side and I tried to project as much as possible in a calm manner to get people out of their houses to ask for help.”
The bullet pierced through Fischer’s upper right torso, “right next to my brachial plexus and the collar bone area”.
“It went through my lung because I was reaching forward, trying to grab Koji.”
Rushed to the hospital, Fischer said he had the top third of his lung removed and a section off the bottom.
He remains rattled by his injuries, with recovery proving hard for Fischer. He still struggles with feeling breathless and requires constant physical therapy to stop the scar tissue from suffocating the nerves affecting his mobility.
As he tried to move on with his life, Fischer has embarked on a months-long road trip throughout the US.
It’s a journey of healing, he said in a crowdfunder raising money to get back on the road after his truck broke down.
“Those backroads that took me to desert campsites and Walmart parking lots and rest stops and friends and family to New York and back began to help me see why I had chosen to leave the security of the Hollywood Hills where I fought for my life and mobility,” he wrote.
Dognappers targeted Lady Gaga’s pets ‘due to the value of the breed’, say detectives
In her opening statement to jurors, deputy district attorney Michele Hanisee said all evidence pointed to the pups being targeted “due to the value of the breed and the desire to own that particular breed”, rather than being owned by Lady Gaga.
The 24 February attack last year took place at around 9.40pm as Fischer strolled along Sierra Bonita Avenue in Hollywood.
After the Los Angeles Police Department used cellular data and surveillance footage to track down the Nissan Sentra’s license plate, James Jackson, 18, Jaylin White, 19, and Lafayette Whaley, 27, were all charged.
Harold White, 40, and Jennifer McBride, 50, were found to be accessories to the shooting. McBride told cops she found the dogs and responded to a reward email to return them.
Detective Christopher Marsden told jurors that Whaley allegedly sent a text to the mother of his young daughter only hours after the robbery. “We got dogs tonight he helped me get,” Whaley said.
A hearing scheduled for Thursday had to be postponed as Whaley refused to leave his jail cell. The judge issued an “extraction order” and rescheduled the hearing for 5 April, according to the jury transcript.
White and McBride have pleaded not guilty to being accessories and remain in custody after posting bail.