Politics

Man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dogwalker released from jail by mistake, sources say


LOS ANGELES — A man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dogwalker in a robbery last year was mistakenly released from a Los Angeles jail Wednesday, according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the matter.

James Howard Jackson, 18, remained free Thursday evening, officials said.

Jackson, one of three charged in the robbery and shooting of the musician’s dogwalker in February 2021, was freed by mistake after a court appearance Wednesday, sources told NBC News and NBC Los Angeles.

The case was dismissed, and a replacement criminal case should have been filed, the sources said. But, the records were not updated immediately, and Jackson was released, they said.

The Los Angeles County District Office said late Thursday the dismissed charges were to have been replaced by a superseding grand jury indictment unsealed during the hearing Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which runs the jail system in the county, did not immediately comment Thursday.

Jackson was one of three people charged last year with attempted murder, second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the shooting of the dogwalker, Ryan Fischer.

Jackson — the alleged gunman — is also charged with one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle.

Fischer was shot and wounded after he was robbed while walking Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs in Hollywood around 9:40 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2021.

The thieves stole two of the three dogs, and the musician offered a $500,000 reward for the return of the animals, named Koji and Gustav. The dogs were later returned.

Los Angeles police have said that the robbery did not target the dogs because they knew they were Gaga’s, but rather because French bulldogs are a popular breed that command high prices.

The DA’s office has said that Jackson shot Fischer after a struggle during the robbery. Two others were later charged with accessory.

Last year, another man was released by mistake from a Los Angeles jail and was free for around three weeks before being recaptured.

Steven Manzo, 24, accused of killing a man in Long Beach in 2018, was released from jail after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said that a case was dismissed for a technical reason and then immediately refiled.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said that Manzo’s release was not its mistake and that it was following a court order for his release.

Manzo was later recaptured in neighboring Orange County.

Phil Helsel contributed.



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