A journalist and lawyer who rose from homelessness and social media addiction for his city’s mayor was shot dead in his home early Monday.
The incident happened overnight in Philly and left 39-year-old Josh Kruger collapsed on the street outside his Point Breeze home, police said.
An incident report further revealed how, at approximately 1:30 a.m. ET, Kruger was shot a total of seven times during the home invasion, and that the suspect (or suspects) remain at large.
It also revealed how Kruger – who worked in his city’s city council for five years from 2016 to 2021 – survived the initial encounter and was able to get outside to seek help before succumbing to his injuries at a local hospital about half an hour later.
Kruger is now being remembered by both the city’s district attorney and his old boss, who released a statement recalling how the writer — who was once addicted to drugs and homeless — “was deeply committed to our city and its residents” as communications director for the city. Office of Homeless Services.
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Josh Kruger, 39, was shot seven times in his Philadelphia home around 1:30 a.m., with at least one unknown assailant
The incident happened overnight in Philly and left the 39-year-old collapsed on the street outside his Point Breeze home (seen here), police said.
At the time of his death, Kruger was back in journalism, spending the past two years creating words for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper and more.
Kenney, a Democrat who came to power in 2016, has in turn issued his own statement saying he is “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death.
“Josh cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident in both his public service and his writing,” Kenney said, recalling Kruger’s years simultaneously running social media and the city’s homeless humanitarian efforts.
“His intelligence, creativity, passion and humor shone brightly in everything he did – and his light was dimmed far too quickly,” Kenney added, revealing how Kruger left city government to focus on writing projects for news and matters he considered important.
One of those causes that the journalist often addressed was the prevalence of homelessness and drugs in urban environments – something he himself was all too familiar with before getting off the streets and back on the straight and narrow.
However, during his period of rough living, he became infected with HIV – a condition he had since overcome with medication and a healthier lifestyle.
The talented writer, several friends and officials added, was also openly gay and regularly wrote about displaced peoples on the margins of society.
Such work was not lost on Monday, as the city’s district attorney, Larry Krasner, remembered Kruger by praising his years of contributions to the city.
“As an openly queer writer who wrote about his own journey surviving substance abuse and homelessness…Josh Kruger has helped the most vulnerable and stigmatized people in our communities,” Krasner said.
Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat who took office in 2016, said he is “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death, citing how the journalist worked for him as both a social media manager and head of the Office of Homeless Services the city.
“Especially people without homes living with addiction,” he added.
“Josh deserved to write the end of his personal story.”
Deputy Police Chief Frank Vanore, meanwhile, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that officers from his department responded to reports of gunshots and shouting, and arrived at the home and found Kruger outside on the street.
Vanore told Kruger’s former employer that his investigators believe Kruger was shot at the bottom of the interior stairs and then collapsed after running outside to get help.
Kruger’s former employer further reported that police believe the door to the home was unlocked or that the shooter knew how to get in, with Vanore telling the outlet, “Either the (front) door was open, or the perpetrator knew how to get to the door. Open.
“We just don’t know yet.”
He was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital, police said, with an incident report giving the time of death as 2:13 a.m.
No arrests have been made and no weapons have been recovered, officers from Vanore’s forces said on Monday – as they continued to search for any clues.
Authorities have yet to speak publicly about the circumstances surrounding the killing – which was still under investigation as of 5pm on Monday.
As for Kruger, he won before praise for his poignant and often humorous style, and described himself on his website as a “militant cyclist” and “an advocate of the singular they, the Oxford comma and pre-Elon Twitter.”
His death is one of at least 330 homicides that have occurred in Philadelphia since the start of the year, according to publicly available Philadelphia police data.