The man suspected of shooting Lady Gaga's dog walker during an armed robbery last year was released from jail on Wednesday, but his release was the result of a massive mistake, authorities confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
James Jackson, 18, was one of three men that authorities say stole Gaga's two French bulldogs on Feb. 24, 2021, in a brazen and violent robbery. Jackson allegedly shot dog walker Ryan Fischer in the chest when he refused to hand over the animals, sending him to the hospital. Fischer later recovered from his injuries.
The two dogs, named Koji and Gustav, were handed in to police two days later after Gaga announced a $500,000 reward for their return. Months later, authorities announced they had arrested Jennifer McBride, the woman who handed in the animals and claimed she had found them tied up in a street. But cops said she was actually in a relationship with the father of one of Jackson's alleged accomplices. She and her partner were each charged with being an accessory to attempted murder.
Jackson and his accomplices, whom police described at the time as gang members, were charged with attempted murder, second-degree robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery. They allegedly stole the dogs because of the breed's high resale value, not because they knew they belonged to the pop singer.
Jackson was also charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm in a vehicle.
But Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department records show Jackson was released from custody at 3:38 p.m. PT on Wednesday. The reason description is listed only as "dismissed."
His two alleged accomplices are still behind bars, per online records.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the sheriff's department said Jackson was freed "due to a clerical error" and that they were investigating the terms of his "inadvertent release."
He had attended a court hearing at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday and was released by mistake the following day.
"The investigation is continuing and the LASD Major Crimes Bureau is actively working to get Mr. Jackson back in custody," the sheriff's department said.
The local NBC affiliate reported, citing several law enforcement sources, that Jackson's court hearing saw his original charges dismissed, but they were supposed to be replaced with a new indictment from a grand jury. However, the new superseding charges were not entered into the system due to an apparent administrative error.
The LA County district attorney was not immediately available for comment.
Representatives for Gaga didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
On his Instagram page, dog walker Fischer shared stories about Jackson's release. "Lord, grant me the serenity," he wrote in one story.
"Deep breaths," he wrote in another.