By Stefanie Dazio | Associated press
LOS ANGELES – The woman who returned the stolen French Bulldogs to Lady Gaga was among five people arrested for the theft and shooting of the music superstar’s dog walker, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
Detectives don’t believe the thieves initially knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. Investigators say the motive for the Feb. 24 theft was the value of the French Bulldogs – which can run into the thousands of dollars.
Dog walker Ryan Fischer is recovering from a gunshot wound and called the violence “very close to death” in social media posts. He was walking Lady Gaga’s three dogs – named Asia, Koji and Gustav – in Hollywood just off the famous Sunset Boulevard when he was attacked.
Doorbell camera video from a nearby house shows a white sedan pulling over and two men jumping. They wrestled with Fischer and one of them pulled a gun and fired a single shot before running away with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav.
The video captured Fischer’s screams: “Oh, my God! I was shot! and “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding from my chest!”
Lady Gaga offered a reward of $ 500,000 – “no questions asked” – to find the dogs. The singer was in Rome at the time to film a movie.
The dogs were returned two days later to an LAPD station by a woman who originally appeared to be “uninvolved and not associated” with the crime, police first said. The woman, identified on Thursday as 50-year-old Jennifer McBride, had reported that she had found the dogs and responded to an email address associated with the award, police said.
McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects, the LAPD said Thursday. It was not immediately clear if she had received the award.
Police arrested 18-year-old James Jackson; Jaylin White, 19; and Lafayette Whaley, 27, in connection with the violence. They are charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second degree theft, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jackson, who authorities say was the shooter, also faces charges of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and a criminal carrying a gun concealed in a vehicle. White is faced with one count of assault by force capable of causing serious bodily harm.
White’s father, Harold White, 40, and McBride were arrested and charged with being complicit in the attack. The elder White has also been charged with one count of possession of a firearm and McBride is facing a charge of receiving stolen property.
Jackson, Whaley and the Whites are all documented gang members, according to the LAPD.
The five suspects were due to be brought to justice on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers who could speak on their behalf.
All five were being held on bail of $ 1 million each, according to online prison records.
Lady Gaga did not immediately address the arrests on her social media accounts Thursday afternoon. Representatives for Fischer and Lady Gaga did not respond to requests for comment.