Journalist Josh Kruger fatally shot at South Philadelphia home

Kruger murder
Josh Kruger (left), then Communications Director of the Office of Homeless Services, is pictured at a tent encampment in Philadelphia, on Jan. 6, 2020.
Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

Josh Kruger, a journalist and former communications staffer in Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, was shot and killed early Monday morning inside his home in South Philadelphia, authorities said.

Officers responded at around 1:30 a.m. to the 2300 block of Watkins Street, where they found Kruger, 39, suffering from seven gunshot wounds to his chest, police said. He died a short time later at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

No one was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the killing.

Kruger, a gay man, integrated his first-hand experience with HIV, homelessness and drug addiction into his writing, and his death shocked those in the LGBTQ and journalism communities.

“Josh Kruger was a fierce advocate for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Rue Landau, a Democratic City Council at-large nominee who would become the body’s first openly LGBTQ member if elected next month, on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Heartbreaking to lose an LGBTQ journalist and respected voice in the city.”

Kruger, in an Instagram post in late August, shared surveillance images of a dark-colored truck and recounted an act of vandalism to his home.

“Yesterday afternoon, in a homophobic or other pathetic act, someone sent a heavy glass egg (?!) projectile through my front window,” he wrote. “It’s caused about $400 worth of damage. It was seemingly a targeted act. “

He filed a police report in the aftermath of the incident. Authorities have not commented on a possible motive in Kruger’s homicide.

For the past couple of years, Kruger had been a freelance writer, most recently publishing a piece in the Philadelphia Citizen that reflected on the impact of Temple University President JoAnne A. Epps, who died suddenly two weeks ago.

He spent about five years – 2016 to 2021 – in the Kenney administration, serving in content and communications roles with the mayor’s office, the Office of Homeless Services and the Department of Public Health, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“Shocked and saddened by Josh Kruger’s death,” Kenney said Tuesday in a social media post. “He cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident in his public service and writing.”

Prior to his time at City Hall, Kruger worked at Philadelphia Weekly and City Paper, and his writing has appeared in the Inquirer, Billy Penn and other publications.

Kruger was a parishioner at St. Mark’s Church in Center City, and, on his website, he said that he lived “with his best friend, his senior cat with one tooth named Mason.”