Lady Gaga’s dog walker said he “contemplated suicide” after being shot protecting the superstar’s pooches — and is only now “forgiving friends who didn’t and don’t know how to be there” for him.
“I was beaten, strangled, shot and left to die bleeding out on a sidewalk and gasping for my life,” Ryan Fischer, 41, said in a moving victim-impact statement as his shooter was sentenced Monday to 21 years in prison.
“You shot me and left me to die, and both our lives changed forever,” he told gunman James Howard Jackson in a statement he also shared on social media.
Fischer recalled the physical injuries from the “life-changing, earth-shattering” Feb. 24, 2021 attack outside the “shallow” star’s Hollywood home, including “lung collapse after lung collapse” and “partial removal.”
But his “darkest hours,” he said, come “when I feel lost and abandoned and mourn a life and those dogs I sacrificed myself for.”
That included “the loss of career” caring for Gaga’s French bulldogs — two of whom were snatched but later returned — as well as all his savings and key “friendships,” he said, without identifying anyone.
It left him “aimlessly traveling the country for over a year as I went into debt, contemplated suicide and struggled … with my identity and how to move past such a life-changing, earth-shattering event,” he said.
Fischer told the court he now has “a deeper love for friends and family that have shown up” — and was “forgiving friends who didn’t and don’t know how to be there for me in the lengthy recovery process.”
It was not clear which camp Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, fell into. The singer was not named in the victim-impact statement, although he did affectionately refer to her dogs, Asia, Koji and Gustav.
Abandoned by friends, he instead found “strangers that became family” supporting him.
Fischer also told his shooter that he is still working on having “forgiveness” for him, too.
“I also want to give gratitude, to thank you for not killing — not harming — the dogs” he and his dog-nabbing accomplices took before they were safely returned days later.
“They were returned and returned to their mom,” he said, the closest he came to identifying Gaga, who was in Italy at the time of the attack.
“I don’t think I could have lived with myself if they died,” he told the court of the dogs.
He ended his statement by decrying “how guns have impacted my life and countless others and continue to harm our society.”
“It doesn’t make sense to fear for your life at school, places of worship, clubs, or when you’re taking dogs out for an evening stroll,” he said.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.