Lady Gaga‘s dog walker described the harrowing scene that unfolded as he tried to save the singer’s pooches, and himself, when he was allegedly attacked in February 2021 by a trio of men who shot him in the chest during a scuffle. In a newly unsealed transcript from a secret grand jury proceeding in Los Angeles last October, Rolling Stone reported that Ryan Fischer testified that he was “confused at first” when the alleged dognappers — who’ve been charged with attempted murder — jumped out of a car and demanded he hand over the singer’s three dogs: Asia, Gustav and Koji.
Fischer said one of the alleged attackers threw him into a concrete embankment and began choking him before he hit the man with a bottle of champagne he’d just purchased before breaking free while trying to grab Koji back. “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 unsealed grand jury transcript. Fischer then added that he collapsed on the ground while the assailants took off with Gustav and Koji in a white Nissan Sentra.
“I immediately tried to call for help but realized I was bleeding out of my lung and that I was losing more and more air quickly,” Fischer testified. “And the other dog, Asia, came to, 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.”
Five people are charged in the case — the three men and two alleged accomplices — and all have pleaded not guilty. The three men purportedly in the sedan — James Jackson, Jaylin White and Lafayette Whaley — who were, respectively, then 18, 19 and 27, were arrested in April 2021 on suspicion of attempted murder and robbery. Jackson was also accused of shooting Fischer. The trio — purported gang members nicknamed Infant Dice, Lil Gudda and LFace, respectively — purportedly drove around Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley on Feb. 24 “looking for French bulldogs,” according to the felony complaint.
The dogs were safely returned, but Fischer suffered a collapsed lung during his recovery, which required surgery and a partial removal after what he said was a harrowing attack in which a bullet ripped through his upper right torso, “right next to my brachial plexus and the collar bone area,” before it exited his back under his shoulder blade. “It went through my lung because I was reaching forward, trying to grab Koji,” he said.
Fischer reportedly never referred to Gaga by name during his lengthy testimony, though when asked at the start if he was a longtime friend of the pop icon he reportedly replied, “I am.” Gaga did not testify in the proceeding, at which deputy district attorney Michele Hanisee noted that there was no evidence the attackers knew the dogs belonged to the singer and that they were intent on targeting French bulldogs “due to the value of the breed.”
An LAPD detective testified that a .45 caliber handgun was recovered from a drawer in White’s bedroom during an April 27 search; White and another defendant, Jennifer McBride — the alleged friend of White’s dad who returned the dogs to police days later after claiming she found them tied to a pole — have pleaded not guilty to being accessories after the fact and are out on bail.
In his testimony, Fischer described being rushed to surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and spending a week there under the fake name “Randy Goodwin” to avoid the intense media glare spawned by the case. He said he had to return to the hospital two days after his release when his lung collapsed again, requiring another major surgery following several procedures that included “chest tubes being placed in and out.”
“I consented to part of my lung being removed. The top third of my lung being removed as well as the bottom portion as well,” he reportedly told the grand jury. The rough recovery has included ongoing “breathing issues,” numbness in his chest and “constant” physical therapy to avoid having scar tissue affect the nerves in the area and his mobility, especially in his “right arm down to his fingers.” He also reportedly told the grand jury about he ongoing effects of the shooting, saying, “When I go from the ground up to stand, I have to, I still get very close to passing out. So I have to take a moment with that.”