"We wanted to make sure he's still alive and still able to speak by the time the ambulance arrived," a neighbor tells PEOPLE of Ryan Fischer, who was critically injured

By Liz McNeil and Maria Pasquini
February 27, 2021 05:46 PM
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A witness to the shooting of Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga's dog walker who was critically injured during a kidnapping of her two French bulldogs, is opening up about the frightening ordeal. 

After hearing screaming outside on Wednesday night, Carlos Pantoja tells PEOPLE he looked outside his window and saw Fischer. Pantoja, 29, was one of the first witnesses on the scene.

"I was on the left side, I was on the bottom of his waist and I was rubbing his leg and making sure there was some contact with him," Pantoja recalls. "We wanted to make sure he was still alive and still able to speak by the time the ambulance arrived."

Pantoja adds, "I didn't think twice, I was just trying to make sure he's okay. At that time we see him fading out and I'm like, 'Hey, wake up.' I'm here touching his leg and trying to find a wallet or something to contact the family. We were making sure Ryan was okay."

Ryan Fischer Instagram
Ryan Fischer
| Credit: Ryan Fischer Instagram

Even after being critically injured, Fischer urged police to find Gaga's two French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav. The singer's pets were safely returned to the police on Friday. 

"The reason why the news spread out quickly is because we told the police Ryan is saying that these are Lady Gaga's dogs," Pantoja recalls. "He literally was bleeding out, holding the dog [Miss Asia]. He's saying, 'Please, please help these are Gaga's dogs. Please help them, please save them.' "

"A dog can sense when you're in pain or something is wrong. The dog was on him just to protect him and take care of him," Pantoja says, adding, "We wanted to make sure Ryan was okay. And that's when the cops came and okay, take the dog. We got to focus on Ryan."

Ryan Fischer; Lady Gaga
Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga
| Credit: Ryan Fischer Instagram; NINA PROMMER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Pantoja, who released his surveillance footage of the shooting to authorities, went on to share that Fischer "wanted the video out" because he wanted Gaga's dogs to be returned. "I just was being a good citizen and just helping a stranger," Pantoja adds. 

"For both of us, this story isn't resolved until Ryan has made a full recovery and the assailants captured," says Pantoja's partner Charley Cullen Walters, whom he lives with.

The robbery took place at about 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday on Sierra Bonita Avenue in Hollywood.

On Friday, Los Angeles Police Capt. Jonathan Tippet told PEOPLE that Fischer was shot one time in the chest and was in stable condition in the hospital.

Dr. Fred Pescatore, a friend and former client of Fischer's, also told PEOPLE the victim texted him from the hospital that he was "breathing on his own now."

When asked if Fischer will make a full recovery, Tippet responded, "I believe he will."

Tippet added that it is unknown whether Fischer was targeted ahead of time or if the attack was random and spontaneous. "That is something we're investigating," he said.

The LAPD's robbery/homicide division has taken over the case.