Josh Kruger, a Philadelphia journalist known for standing up for the LGBTQ community, homeless and other disadvantaged people, was shot to death in his home early Monday, according to police.
The Philadelphia Police Department responded to his home on the city’s south side around 1:30 a.m. and found Kruger, 39, shot seven times throughout his chest and abdomen. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:13 a.m.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported a person entered his home and started shooting. Police believe Kruger was shot at the base of his stairs and he ran out of his home seeking help from neighbors where he collapsed, the Inquirer said. The shooter has not yet been arrested.
Kruger had written on his Facebook page about a few disturbing incidents that happened to him over the last few months, the Inquirer noted: An ex-partner had broken into his home, somehow obtaining keys to get inside which caused him to change his locks; someone threw a rock through his window and a person who identified themselves as “Lady Diabla, the She-Devil of the Streets” came to his home asking about a boyfriend and threatened him.
Kruger was a freelance journalist who wrote for the Inquirer, Philadelphia Citizen, a nonprofit media organization focusing on solutions-based journalism, Philadelphia Weekly and LGBTQ Nation. He also worked in the communications office for the City of Philadelphia, first as communications director for the Office of Homeless Services and content director for the Mayor Jim Kenney administration from 2016 until 2021, his LinkedIn page said.
“Shocked and saddened by Josh Kruger’s death. He cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident in his public service and writing,” Kenney wrote on X, the website formerly known as Twitter.
Larry Krasner, district attorney for Philadelphia, wrote on X that Kruger “lifted up the most vulnerable and stigmatized people in our communities — particularly unhoused people living with addiction.” Krasner also said he would keep in close contact with the Philadelphia police to ensure justice can be served.
In an obituary on the Citizen site, journalist Roxanne Patel Shepelavy eulogized Kruger as an “immensely talented writer with an insatiable passion for telling the real truth about hard issues.”
One of Kruger’s last articles for the Citizen pointed out the misguidedness of elected officials’ preferred use of the word “unhoused” over homeless because the latter was too stigmatized. Kruger, who was once homeless himself, wrote that officials should instead focus on pushing through additional funding so the homeless could become housed.
“The fact is that we could solve homelessness with the right investments in the right policies. It would cost less than one percent of the current $6 billion municipal budget. But I’m starting to think everyone would rather talk about the lingo than admit we are failing to actually help those in need,” Kruger wrote.
From Philadelphia police:
Any one with information can call (215) 686-8477
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