The United States is offering a reward to help trace a man suspected of kidnapping pop singer Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs and shooting her dog walker last year, with law enforcement saying he was “erroneously released” from a Los Angeles jail.
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward of “up to $5,000” for information leading to the arrest of James Howard Jackson, 19, it said in a statement on Monday.
“Jackson should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts should contact law enforcement immediately,” it added.
Jackson was one of three people charged with attempted murder and robbery following the kidnapping of the French bulldogs belonging to Lady Gaga on Feb. 24, 2021. He was “erroneously released from custody April 6, 2022, due to a clerical error,” the statement said, without giving further details.
The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was ambushed by two men about 9:40 p.m. close to Sunset Boulevard, the LAPD said at the time. When he refused to let go of the animals, one of the men fired a gun, striking him in the chest, and grabbed the two dogs. A third dog, Asia, was unharmed after Fischer clutched the animal as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk.Fischer was hospitalized but survived. Jackson is alleged to have shot Fischer with a “.40-caliber handgun,” the U.S. Marshals said.
The incident sparked global headlines last year with emotional pleas from the singer on social media for the return of her “beloved” pets.
With their squat bodies and friendly demeanor, French bulldogs, sometimes called Frenchies, are well-loved in the United States, becoming the second-most popular dog breed in the country after Labrador retrievers in 2020, according to the American Kennel Club. However, they are expensive, with prices frequently ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 or more and have been targeted in recent years by dognappers hoping to sell them.
Lady Gaga’s dogs, Koji and Gustav, were returned two days after the incident. She had offered a $500,000 reward.Police arrested five people in April in connection with the attack. Jaylin White, 19, Lafayette Whaley, 27, and Jackson were all charged with one count of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery, said the U.S. Marshals — federal law enforcement agents under the Department of Justice. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said it had requested the U.S. Marshals Service’s assistance to find and arrest Jackson.
The “Bad Romance” and “Paparazzi” singer, whose name is Stefani Germanotta, 36, has not publicly commented on the reward. Fischer, the dog walker, posted on Instagram at the time of Jackson’s mistaken release in April that he was “deeply concerned.” But he added, “I’m confident law enforcement will rectify the error.”
He also made a plea to Jackson to turn himself in. “I ask for Mr. Jackson to turn himself over to the authorities, so resolution to the crime committed against me runs its course, whatever the courts determine that outcome to be,” he added. “Thank you to everyone who is supporting me during this time.”