Police name suspect wanted for murder of Philadelphia journalist Josh Kruger

Police said Josh Kruger was trying to help the suspect, identified as Robert Davis.

ByAnnie McCormick, 6abc Digital Staff KGO logo
Friday, October 6, 2023
Police name suspect wanted for murder of Philadelphia journalist Josh Kruger
Police name suspect wanted for murder of Philadelphia journalist Josh Kruger

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia police have named a suspect in the murder of a journalist and activist who was shot and killed inside his own home.

Josh Kruger, a 39-year-old freelance journalist and former city employee, was shot seven times in the chest and abdomen early Monday.

The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Robert Edmond Davis. He is wanted for murder and related offenses.

Police say Davis is still at large and is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Robert Davis

Davis is 5'5" tall and weighs 160 lbs. He has a last known address on the 1600 block of South Ringgold Street.

Anyone with information on Davis' whereabouts is asked to contact police by dialing 911.

Lt. Hamilton Marshmond of the Philadephia Police Department said Kruger and Davis were acquaintances and Kruger was trying to help Davis.

"He was just trying to help him get through life," Marshmond said during a news conference on Friday.

Josh Kruger

Source say Kruger had extensive text messages with Davis. Those sources also told 6abc that drugs were found in Kruger's home.

It appears that Davis may have experienced homelessness at one time, per Marshmond. Investigators are continuing to search for more information on a possible motive.

"Only Mr. Davis will be able to answer that," Marshmond said.

Kruger was shot inside his home on the 2300 block of Watkins Street in the Point Breeze section of the city around 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Police said they have video of the suspect in the area of Kruger's home before the shooting.

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.

"To many Philadelphians, Epps was someone they truly loved - in part because she loved them," he wrote, calling it a "solemn honor to write about someone after they've died."

Mayor Jim Kenney, in a statement Monday, said that Kruger's writing and advocacy showed how deeply he cared for the city, adding that "his light was dimmed much too soon."

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."

Kruger was openly queer, according to District Attorney Larry Krasner, and often wrote about LGBTQ+ topics, as well as drug abuse and homelessness.

"Josh deserved to write the ending of his personal story," Krasner said in a statement.

At a memorial on Thursday night, friends, colleagues, and peers shared their memories of Kruger.

"Josh lived his truth very unapologetically, very boldly. He lived out loud, and he encouraged me to do the same even when times got rough," said one attendee.

District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement that Kruger was an "openly queer writer who wrote about his own journey surviving substance use disorder and homelessness."

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.