Lady Gaga‘s dog walker is opening up about his journey to healing after being shot during the high-profile incident that saw suspects take off with the singer’s beloved dogs.
In a post shared to his Instagram on Monday, Ryan Fischer opened up about the February incident and the difficulties he’s faced in his recovery and finding a new normal.
“‘You’re Ryan! You got shot. You were shot! Where were you shot? Where’d they shoot you?’ Over the past few weeks, after charges were announced and leveled against those who stole the boys and attempted to murder me, I continue to find myself on the receiving end of several conversations like this,” Fischer’s lengthy post on Instagram begins.
“With no arrow drawn to my wounds and no sign that reads, ‘I’m Ryan! I was shot,’ people still come up to me on my morning walks to let me know that I, in fact, had been shot. And that my given name continues to be Ryan,” his post continues.
On February 24, Fischer was walking Gaga’s French bulldogs named Miss Asia, Koji, and Gustav at night in Los Angeles. He was shot in the chest and two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen. Fischer was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery and thankfully a few days later Gaga’s dogs were returned safely.
Fischer spoke to the national attention he’s received after being named the victim in the case. At the time he was hospitalized, Gaga, 35, was in Italy filming a project. While he shares he’s “still healing” from the trauma the incident brought him, he’s appreciative of the well wishes he’s received from the public along the way.
“It’s a strange thing to be known for a trauma that I’m still healing from. People want to reach out, share in my pain for a moment, and then walk away, leaving me to relive it again. It’s not intentional; it comes from a kindness and compassion that I welcome,” he writes. “Everyone’s support and well wishes have been incredible, and I am so humbled by every kind word and prayer that have come my way. It just hasn’t always been easy to navigate as I continue to find myself.”
Fischer has worked with dogs for a decade. He admits the incident has left the future of his career in limbo.
“Along with the media attention and trauma recovery, I am – for the first time in a very long time – without purpose, which has been the hardest part of this chapter. Because I’m not yet in the proper headspace to care for dogs (whenever I perceive a dog is in danger I go on high alert and then break down and cry after), my purpose for the last ten years has suddenly vanished,” he explains.
Fischer’s caption accompanied a photo of him sitting on the beach in the sun, peering up at the sky. Ultimately, he says the crime has prompted him to revisit his path and shared plans to prioritize exploring the world around him.
“So what do I do now during this necessary limbo? Do I sit and do nothing, or do I choose to cultivate another aspect of self that gives purpose? It’s funny, I set up this account years ago with a concept in mind: What would it look like if a gay Saint – specifically Saint Rocque, patron Saint of Dogs, Bachelors, and the Plague – were reincarnated and had to navigate modern celebrity culture? What would he do and say to get his message across? Would he get a van and explore this country, write about prison reform and healing, and comment about a late-stage capitalistic society through performance? Who knows, but I’m dying to find out. Not like get shot, dying, but I am excited to share in my bumbling exploration and storytelling with you along the way. To a purposeful journey!” his post concludes.
Five people are charged in the case — the three men and two alleged accomplices — and all have pleaded not guilty. Police arrested James Jackson, 18, Jaylin White, 19, and Lafayette Whaley, 27, in connection with the violence. They are charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jackson, who authorities say was the shooter, also faces charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. White faces one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Meanwhile, Harold White, 40, and Jennifer McBride, 50, were arrested and accused of being accessories to the attack. The elder White also was charged with one count of possession of a firearm and McBride faces a charge of receiving stolen property.
The Lady Gaga connection was a coincidence, authorities have said. The motive was the value of the French bulldogs, a breed that can run into the thousands of dollars, and detectives do not believe the thieves knew the dogs belonged to the pop star.
Jackson and White jumped out and attacked Fischer, stealing Koji and Gustav in a violent struggle captured on the doorbell camera of a nearby home. They hit and choked Fischer, prosecutors alleged, and Jackson pulled out a semiautomatic gun and fired, striking Fischer once before they fled.
The camera recorded the dog walker screaming “Oh, my God! I’ve been shot!” and “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding out from my chest!”
Fischer previously said in an Instagram post, “I am humbled and grateful that attention and focus from the police were enough to get Koji and Gustav back to safety, and I know they are committed to bringing these criminals and attempted murderers to justice. I am so appreciative of everything you continue to do.”
Gaga had offered a $500,000 reward for the safe return of her dogs. “My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were taken in Hollywood two nights ago. My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness,” the singer wrote on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.