The dog walker, who also has not been publicly identified by authorities, remains in stable condition, police said; Lady Gaga’s father told CNN the victim is a “close friend” of the singer.
The LAPD received several 911 calls Wednesday night reporting the sound of a gunshot and a man screaming for help. The department confirmed that Lady Gaga’s 30-year-old dog walker was ambushed by two men about 9:40 p.m. near Sierra Bonita Avenue and close to the popular Sunset Boulevard. When the dog walker refused to let go of the animals, one of the men fired a semiautomatic, striking the dog walker in the chest, and took the two dogs.
The robbers fled in a white vehicle, the police said.
A third dog, Asia, escaped and was recovered safely, authorities said. News reports showed photographs of Lady Gaga’s bodyguard picking up the black-furred dog at the Hollywood police station.
Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, took to Twitter on Friday to plead for the dogs’ safe return, offering a $500,000 reward and appearing to thank the dog walker for risking his life.
“My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness,” she wrote.
Capt. Jonathan Tippet, commanding officer of the LAPD’s robbery and homicide division, said the motives of the attack remain unclear.
“It appears that they wanted the dogs, and we are investigating other angles but nothing that we know for sure,” Tippet said, adding that it is unclear whether the shooting was directly related to Lady Gaga’s celebrity status.
Tippet said there have not been any other recent reports of pedigree-dog thefts in Los Angeles, nor have there been any other recent attacks or crimes related to celebrities’ pets. French bulldogs are high-valued animals that can be of interest to criminals, he said.
TMZ obtained disturbing footage from a home security camera that shows blurred images of a man walking with dogs before a white vehicle pulls up alongside him. Two men are then seen getting out of the car, one screaming at the dog walker: “Give it up!”
When the man refuses to give up the dogs, screaming for help and wrestling to keep them, a man pulls a semiautomatic and opens fire at the dog walker.
The man is seen lying on the ground, wailing with pain and screaming: “Help me! I’ve been shot! … I’m bleeding out of my chest!”
Lady Gaga is reportedly working on a new film in Italy.
On Thursday, the pop star’s father, Joe Germanotta, told the New York Post that the family is “devastated” by the abduction of the star’s beloved pets.
“We’re just sick over it, it’s really horrible,” said Germanotta, who is a Manhattan restaurateur.
“It’s like someone took one of your kids.”