LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal authorities are offering $5,000 for information about the man who allegedly shot Lady Gaga’s dog walker in Hollywood last year and stole two of the pop star’s French bulldogs. He was accidentally released in April and is still missing.
James Howard Jackson, 19, was one of five people arrested in connection with the violent robbery in February 2021. He was charged with attempted murder when he was released from the Los Angeles County jail “for clerical error”.
Detectives don’t believe the thieves initially knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, who was filming a movie in Rome at the time. The motive was presumably the value of the French bulldogs – which can run into the thousands of dollars. The dogs were later returned by a woman who claimed to have found them; she was later arrested and found to be in a relationship with the father of another suspect.
US Marshals said in a statement Monday that Jackson should be considered armed and dangerous. The reward is for information leading to his arrest. Authorities previously said Jackson is a documented gang member, but have not provided additional information.
Representatives for Gaga did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was with Gaga’s three dogs — named Asia, Koji and Gustav — in Hollywood near the famous Sunset Boulevard when he was attacked.
Video from a nearby home’s doorbell camera shows a white sedan pulling up and two men jumping out. They struggled with Fischer and one pulled a gun and fired a single shot before fleeing with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav. The video captured Fischer screaming, “Oh my God! I got shot!” and “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding from my chest!”
Fischer — who was once shot in the chest with a bullet from a .40-caliber handgun — previously called the violence “a very close call to death” in social media posts.
Gaga offered a $500,000 reward — “no questions asked” — to be reunited with the dogs at the time. It was not immediately clear whether the singer will also contribute to a reward for the arrest of Jackson.
In April, prosecutors filed a replacement charge in which Jackson – already in custody – was charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.
The move was made “to expedite the legal process,” and Jackson was being brought before a new case number, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement at the time.
“Mr. Jackson was subsequently released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We do not know why they did that,” the statement said.
Sheriff and Marshal representatives did not immediately return requests for additional information on Wednesday.