PHILADELPHIA. — An acquaintance has been charged in the death of a Philadelphia journalist who went from sleeping on the street to working for the mayor to writing columns on the city’s most pressing social issues.
Robert Edmond Davis, 19, faces murder, weapons counts and related charges in the death of Josh Kruger, 39, who was shot and killed at his Philadelphia home Oct. 2. A warrant had been issued for Davis four days later and authorities have said they have video of him in the area of Kruger’s home before the shooting.
Davis was arrested at his South Philadelphia home Wednesday night. Authorities have said the motive behind the killing remains unclear but that the pair were in a relationship.
It was not clear Thursday if Davis has retained an attorney. His mother, Damica Davis, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that if her son did kill Kruger, there’s no excuse, noting “it’s tragic what happened, but I feel like my son is a victim in this, as well.»
Kruger was shot seven times at about 1:30 a.m. and collapsed in the street after seeking help, police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
The slaying was felt deeply at City Hall and among people involved in the many causes he cared about: addiction, homelessness, HIV and LGBTQ+ advocacy, journalism and bicycling, to name a few.
“One of the worst parts of being homeless in urban America is feeling invisible. When people don’t recognize your humanity, you begin to question it yourself,” he wrote in a 2015 column for The Philadelphia Citizen, just three years after he himself slept outside a law firm near Rittenhouse Square.
In more recent columns, he condemned City Council members as cowards for banning supervised injection sites in most parts of the city; dismissed debates about politically correct language over homelessness as beside the point; and, in a final column, dove into the city’s collective grief over the sudden death last month of Temple University’s acting president JoAnne Epps.
Kruger handled social media for the mayor and communications for the Office of Homeless Services from about 2016 to 2021. He left city government to focus on writing projects.
He wrote at various times for Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications, earning awards for his poignant and often humorous style.
On his website, he described himself as a “militant bicyclist” and “a proponent of the singular they, the Oxford comma, and pre-Elon Twitter.”