Lady Gaga’s dog walker recalls night he was shot in first TV interview


Lady Gaga’s dog-walker Ryan Fischer is finally speaking out about his frightening encounter with dognappers last February, when he took a bullet protecting the pop-star’s three prized pooches. 

‘It was a severe one shot,’ Fischer told CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King of the near-fatal injury he picked up during the faceoff, in his first television interview since the attack. 

‘The people in the ER, who I had seen that night, told me that they didn’t think I was going to survive,’ Fischer remembered.

‘Some days are great, some weeks are not – and that’s been the big up and down the last few months,’ revealed an emotional Fischer – who was hailed by Gaga as a ‘hero’ for fighting to protect the dogs despite being held at gunpoint.

Ryan Fischer spoke to CBS Morning about his frightening encounter last February, when he took a bullet protecting the pop-star's three prized pooches

Ryan Fischer spoke to CBS Morning about his frightening encounter last February, when he took a bullet protecting the pop-star’s three prized pooches

Fischer suffered severe injuries after the shooting, and was told by doctors that he would likely not survive

Fischer suffered severe injuries after the shooting, and was told by doctors that he would likely not survive

The attack occurred the night of February 24 in Los Angeles, when a car suddenly pulled up aside Fischer during a routine walk of the singer’s three French Bulldogs – a task the 30-year-old had been doing for six years.

However, Fischer told King that he immediately sensed something was afoot.

‘The car came and screeched, and came in at an angle, and there was no doubt in my head that they were stopping for me.’ 

At that point, according to Fischer, one of the assailants came out of the car and brandished a semiautomatic pistol – and when it became clear that the object of the heist were the dogs, he knew he would likely not walk away from the encounter unscathed – or worse, not walk away at all.

‘I had a feeling when they came up and pulled the gun on me, that I was going to end up being shot,’ he recalls. 

‘Because, in my mind, there was no way that I’m not going to fight for these dogs.’  

‘Even with a gun, you knew you were going to fight,’ King asks in the interview, visibly astounded.

‘Yeah,’ Fischer answered without flinching.

A white sedan suddenly pulled up aside Fischer during a routine walk of the singer's three French Bulldogs in Los Angeles, and two assailants emerged from the vehicle, one toting a gun

A white sedan suddenly pulled up aside Fischer during a routine walk of the singer’s three French Bulldogs in Los Angeles, and two assailants emerged from the vehicle, one toting a gun

Fischer fought back against his attackers to protect his pop-star employer's prized pooches - and almost lost his life as a result

Fischer fought back against his attackers to protect his pop-star employer’s prized pooches – and almost lost his life as a result

During the ensuing struggle, the daring dog-lover was thrown against a concrete corner and strangled by one of his attackers. 

Fischer then grabbed a champagne bottle from a bag he was carrying, and began to pummel his assailant. 

When one of the attackers grabbed two of the three dogs and began ushering them into the vehicle, Fischer desperately reached out with his arms – and that’s when he was shot. 

'There was no way that I’m not going to fight for these dogs,' Fischer told CBS Morning co-host Gayle King, in an emotional interview

‘There was no way that I’m not going to fight for these dogs,’ Fischer told CBS Morning co-host Gayle King, in an emotional interview

The dognappers swiftly fled the scene, with Fischer left with just one of the three dogs – fighting for his life. 

‘‘I was scared, I was in pain,’ he recalled to King, who listened to Fischer’s recount of the events in awe.

Concerned neighbors soon flocked to a floored Fischer, alerted by the dog-walker’s hair-raising screams for help.

The sordid event and the ensuing aftermath was recorded by security cameras in the vicinity, and King was visibly shaken by the gut-wrenching footage.

‘Watching the video,’ she tells Fischer, ‘your screams were so agonizing to hear.’ 

Fischer was shot once in the faceoff, but the bullet went through his chest and pierced his lung, causing it to collapse. 

‘I was shot once,’ he told King, motioning where and how exactly he was wounded. ‘And because I was reaching forward, it went through, right here [motions to his right shoulder], just next to my next, above my clavicle – it went out below my shoulder blade.’ 

'‘I was scared, I was in pain,' Fischer recalled to King, who listened to the dogwalker's recount of the harrowing events in complete awe

‘‘I was scared, I was in pain,’ Fischer recalled to King, who listened to the dogwalker’s recount of the harrowing events in complete awe

Critically injured, medical professionals offered Fischer a grim diagnosis after he was carted off to the hospital. 

‘The people in the ER, who I had seen that night, told me that they didn’t think I was going to survive that night.’   

‘I was on the operating table, and there was a team of eight or nine people all around the table, working on me, trying to get the chest tube in,’ he recalled to King.

‘When they put the chest tube in all of a sudden all this blood spurted out on the doctor next to me, and everyone’s faces just dropped.’ 

‘They removed the top third of my lung, and a bottom portion of my lung,’ he revealed in an emotional exchange.

King went on to ask why Fischer thought he was targeted – and if the attackers knew the pedigree of the pop singer’s three pooches. 

‘I wasn’t sure in the moment, anything’s possible,’ Fischer answers, but I would be very surprised if they did know.’ 

‘I think they just saw a guy with three French Bulldogs.’

The French Bulldog is an extremely expensive and sought-after breed of dog – particularly in Los Angeles.

Two of Gaga's dogs were taken during the attack - French Bulldogs Koji and Gustav - with Fischer managing to save one. The singer hailed Fischer as a hero. Koji and Gustav have since been reunited with their celebrity owner

Two of Gaga’s dogs were taken during the attack – French Bulldogs Koji and Gustav – with Fischer managing to save one. The singer hailed Fischer as a hero. Koji and Gustav have since been reunited with their celebrity owner

Gaga's three dogs are now back together with their superstar mom - who offered a $500,000 for their safe return

Gaga’s three dogs are now back together with their superstar mom – who offered a $500,000 for their safe return

‘The on thing I noticed in LA, while walking the dogs, is that people would say out of their cars, “How much are those dogs worth; how much are they – can I buy them?”’ Fischer said during the exclusive TV spot.

‘And that part was always surprising – the viewing of a dog as a commodity.’ 

Five people – James Jackson, 18; Jaylin White, 19; Lafayette Whaley, 27; Harold White, 40, and Jennifer McBride, 50, were arrested in April in connection with the incident. 

 Conversation then shifted to his employer – who put out a $500,000 reward for her kidnapped canines after the incident, no questions asked, and had them returned to her just two days later by McBride – and how she fit in to events that followed the incident. 

‘She’s helped me so much – she’s been a friend for me,’ Fischer said.

‘After I was attacked, my family was flown out, and I had trauma therapists flown to me, and I stayed at her house for months while friends comforted me, and security was around me.’

When asked if he and Lady Gaga are on good terms, Fischer, without hesitation, responded, ‘Yeah.’

After miraculously recovering physically from the near-fatal shooting, Fischer – and Gaga – came under fire after the dogwalker posted a GoFundMe page in August to help finance a cross-country trip he had embarked on in an RV, to help heal after the traumatic experience.

King asked him why he didn’t ask Gaga for help?

‘LG’s very supportive of my journey right now, and I think it’s hard for people to understand why someone would go about healing in this way,’ Fischer answered.

‘I grew up Catholic’ he added, ‘and there’s something about giving up your resources, giving up belongings, and to contribute back to society. And so I know that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but she totally gets it.’

With the cross-country excursion now complete – and after surpassing his $40,000 goal in regards to donations – Fischer looks to continue his healing journey by attending a retreat designed for people who have undergone significant trauma. 

‘I’m going on a retreat. I’d like to go through all different methods to see what the best method for me is,’ he told King.

‘A trauma retreat for first responders, and people from the Army, and people from the police.’

Fischer admitted he had feelings of reluctance to attend such a sanctuary, initially, explaining, ‘I feel like a bit of an outsider, because I’m a civilian.’ 

‘But I also welcome hearing their stories, and me sharing on my own, and feeling what that feels like, to share any stories of trauma and grief, and to go forward.’

Fischer then added that he’s ‘looking forward’ to life now that he’s somewhat recovered. 

‘I feel good about my life. I’m in a good space mentally as I’ve done the work to embrace that part of us.’

‘I love those dogs,’ he added triumphantly.



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