Lady Gaga dognapping case: Prosecutors claim suspects didn’t know dogs belonged to star

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4-min read
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Singer Lady Gaga (L) performs during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today's inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images)
The felony complaint in the Lady Gaga dognapping case, filed by prosecutors Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, provides new details about the attack. (Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images)

New details have emerged in the Lady Gaga dognapping case.

Late last week, five arrests were made in the shooting of the star's dog walker, Ryan Fischer, and theft of her French bulldogs, Gustav and Koji — and the felony complaint now offers details about the circumstances around the violent crime.

Three men— James Jackson, 18; Jaylin White, 19; and Lafayette Whaley, 27, who were all arrested on Feb. 27 — drove around the Hollywood, West Hollywood and San Fernando Valley sections of Los Angeles in a white sedan on on Feb. 24 “looking for French bulldogs,” states the complaint, obtained by the Associated Press.

Gaga's dog walker and friend Ryan Fischer recovering from the shooting. (Photo: saintrocque via Instagram)
Gaga's dog walker and friend Ryan Fischer was shot trying protect the three dogs — two of which were snatched during the incident. (Photo: saintrocque via Instagram)

The trio, who apparently have gang ties, were unaware the dogs belonged to the star, who was in Italy shooting a movie. They saw Fischer with the three dogs — also including Asia — on busy Sunset Boulevard, where he stopped at Almor Wine & Spirits, and they followed him to the secluded side street where the attack occurred. They turned off the sedan's headlights as they crept up on him. 

Jackson and White were the ones who jumped out and attacked Fischer, snatching Frenchies Koji and Gustav while Asia escaped, in a violent and bloody struggle caught on security footage. Prosecutors allege that the men hit and choked Fischer before Jackson shot him with a semiautomatic gun. They then the fled with the two dogs, which are a breed of great value. 

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Jackson, White and Whaley were all charged with one count each of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery. Accused triggerman Jackson also faces one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. White also faces one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. 

They have all pleaded not guilty and are due back in court May 11.

The two others charged — White’s father, Harold White, 40, and his girlfriend Jennifer McBride, 50 — became involved after the fact, prosecutors claim. The pair allegedly helped the younger White avoid arrest, and McBride was the one who returned the dogs to the police on Feb. 26, after the crime made headlines around the world and Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotta) offered a $500,000 reward.

American singer and actress Lady Gaga in Piazza del Duomo on the set of the film House of Gucci, directed by Ridley Scott. Milan (Italy), March 11th, 2021 (Photo by Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Lady Gaga on the set of House of Gucci in Milan in March. (Photo: Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

McBride claimed she found the dogs tied to a pole and asked about the reward. Police advised Gaga not to pay the money until McBride was cleared — and she apparently never was.  

McBride and Harold are charged with one count each of being accessories after the crime. She's also charged with receiving stolen property valued above $950; Harold was also charged with one count of possession of a firearm.

The three men in the car remain in jail. Jackson's bail is set at $3,030,000 while White's is at $1,050,000 and Whaley’s is $1.1 million.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Wilson presides over the April 29th arraignment of several people arrested in connection with the theft of Lady Gaga's dog and shooting of her dog walker. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes / POOL / AFP)
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Wilson presides over the April 29th arraignment of several people arrested in connection with the theft of Lady Gaga's dog and shooting of her dog walker. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes / POOL / AFP)

Harold, who prosecutors also claim is a gang member, was released on bond Saturday. McBride was released on bond Monday.

Gaga and Fischer have not addressed the arrests publicly, but her father, Joe Germanotta, has.

“Hopefully, the prosecutors won't let them back out on the street again," he told the Daily Beast.

Germanotta, a restaurateur, said he suspected McBride's story was bogus from the start. That's because a member of the dognapping crew first called the reward hotline Gaga established, rather than going to police.

“I thought it was extremely unusual that when somebody finds a dog, the first thing they think to do is call a phone number, not 911 or 311,” he said. “I just thought it was fishy as hell.”

Fischer — the longtime caretaker of Gaga's dogs — spent several weeks in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound. Soon after being released, he had to be re-hospitalized with a collapsed lung. He's now back out again and "working through trauma" after his “very close call with death."

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