Assailants shot Lady Gaga's dog walker and stole two of the pop superstar's French bulldogs, prompting her to offer a half-million-dollar reward for their return.
The Los Angeles Police Department said it received several 911 calls Wednesday night reporting the sound of a gunshot and a man screaming for help. The LAPD confirmed that Gaga's 30-year-old dog walker was ambushed by two men around 9:40 p.m. in Sierra Bonita Avenue, near the popular Sunset Boulevard. When the dog walker refused to let go of the animals, a male suspect fired a semiautomatic handgun, striking the dog walker in the chest, and stole two of the singer's dogs, Koji and Gustav.
The suspects immediately fled the scene in a white vehicle, the police said.
A third dog, Asia, escaped and has been recovered safely, authorities say. News reports showed photographs of Lady Gaga's bodyguard picking up the black-furred dog at the Hollywood Police station.
The dog walker, whom authorities declined to identify, was taken to a hospital by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics, and remains in stable condition, Los Angeles Police Capt. Jonathan Tippet told The Washington Post.
Tippet, commanding officer of the Robbery-Homicide Division LAPD, 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 has not been any other recent reports of pedigree dog thefts in the city of Los Angeles, nor there have 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 which showed 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 refused to give up the dogs, screaming out for help and wrestling to keep the dogs, a man pulls a semiautomatic handgun and opens fire at him.
The man is seen lying on the floor, wailing with pain and screaming: "Help me! I've been shot! . . . I'm bleeding out of my chest!"
Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, is offering a hefty reward for the safe return of her dogs "with no questions asked," a representative told the Associated Press.
The pop star is reportedly working on a new film in Italy.
On Thursday, Lady Gaga'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," Germanotta, who is a Manhattan restaurateur, said.
"It's like someone took one of your kids."