One of three reputed gang members charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker and the theft of two of the singer’s French bulldogs was ordered Thursday to stand trial.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Francis Bennett found sufficient evidence to allow the case against Lafayette Shon Whaley, 27, to proceed to trial, according to Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee.
Whaley and co-defendants James Howard Jackson, 18, and Jaylin Keyshawn White, 19, were charged April 29 with one count each of attempted murder, second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the Feb. 24 shooting of Lady Gaga’s longtime dog walker, 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, while White is also facing one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Jackson and White are awaiting a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to allow the case against them to proceed to trial.
The three men, described by police as “documented gang members” from Los Angeles, allegedly approached Fischer while he was walking three of the singer’s dogs in the 1500 block of North Sierra Bonita Avenue, near Sunset Boulevard.
Surveillance video from a home security system shows Fischer walking on the sidewalk when a white sedan pulls up and stops in the street, with two people jumping from the back seat and saying, “Give it up.”
A struggle ensued and one gunshot was fired, prompting Fischer to fall to the ground, screaming. The assailants each grabbed one dog — named Koji and Gustav — and got back into the rear seat of the car, leaving Fischer on the ground yelling for help.
The singer’s other bulldog, Miss Asia, ran back to Fischer on the ground after the assailants’ vehicle disappeared from view.
Jennifer McBride — who, according to police, reported that she found the dogs and responded to a reward email to return them — was charged with one count each of being an accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property.
The 50-year-old woman, who brought the dogs to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Olympic Division, allegedly had a relationship with Harold White, the 40-year-old father of one of the suspects, according to police.
Harold White, described by police as a documented gang member, is charged with one count each of being an accessory after the fact and possession of a firearm with an enumerated prior conviction involving a firearm, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Lady Gaga, who was in Italy filming a movie, had offered a $500,000 reward for her pets’ safe return and praised Fischer, saying he risked his life “to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero.”
In a March 30 Instagram post, Fischer said he had been recovering well from the shooting when his lung collapsed and he had to have emergency surgery.
In a written statement announcing the charges, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón called it “a brazen street crime that left a man seriously wounded.”
Los Angeles police said detectives do not believe the victim was targeted because of the dogs’ owner, but suspect that the great value of the breed was known and was the motivation for the robbery.
Police have seen an uptick in the theft of French bulldogs, which have topped the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular dog breeds in Los Angeles for several years.
All five defendants were arrested within a three-hour period on April 27 by officers from the LAPD’s South Bureau Homicide, Metropolitan Division and Newton Division.
Whaley, Jackson and Jaylin White remain behind bars, while McBride and Harold White have been released on bond, according to jail records.