Josh Kruger, Philadelphia gay journalist, shot & killed in his home

Josh Kruger Gay Journalist Killed Philadelphia

Philadelphia journalist and activist Josh Kruger, a gay man, was shot to death early Monday at his home in the city

Philadelphia journalist and activist Josh Kruger, a gay man, was shot to death early Monday at his home in the city.

Police were called to Kruger’s neighborhood about 1:30 a.m., The Philadelphia Inquirer and other outlets report. He had seven gunshot wounds in his chest and abdomen and had collapsed on the sidewalk outside his home. Police believe Kruger was shot in his home and went outside to seek help. He was taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died about 2:15 a.m. He was 39.

Kruger had written for numerous news sources, including the Inquirer, The Philadelphia Citizen, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, The Advocate, and Plus (a sibling publication of The Advocate). Many of his articles dealt with LGBTQ+ issues and his experiences of homelessness and living with HIV.

He had also worked for the city of Philadelphia in departments including the mayor’s office, the Office of Homeless Services, and the Department of Public Health.

“We are shocked and saddened by Josh’s death,” said a statement from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

“Josh cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident both in his public service and in his writing,” the mayor continued. “His intelligence, creativity, passion, and wit shone bright in everything that he did — and his light was dimmed much too soon. We were exceedingly fortunate to call him a colleague and our prayers are with everyone who knew and loved him.”

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District Attorney Larry Krasner released a statement and said, “Josh Kruger lifted up the most vulnerable and stigmatized people in our communities — particularly unhoused people living with addiction. As an openly queer writer who wrote about his own journey surviving substance use disorder and homelessness, it was encouraging to see Josh join the Kenney administration as a spokesperson for the Office of Homeless Services.”

Krasner added: “Josh deserved to write the ending of his personal story. As with all homicides, we will be in close contact with the Philadelphia Police as they work to identify the person or persons responsible so that they can be held to account in a court of law. I extend my deepest condolences to Josh’s loved ones and to all those mourning this loss.”

The DA’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee said that many knew Kruger to be someone who advocated strongly for queer people in Philadelphia.

“His struggles mirrored so many of ours – from community rejection, to homelessness, to addiction, to living with HIV, to poverty – and his recovery, survival, and successes showed what’s possible when politicians and elected leaders reject bigotry and work affirmatively to uplift all people. Even while Josh worked for the Mayor, he never stopped speaking out against police violence, politicized attacks on trans and queer people, or the societal discarding of homeless and addicted Philadelphians,” the committee said. “We are devastated that Josh’s life was ended so violently. We urge anyone who has information that could lead to an arrest and prosecution for Josh’s murder to contact the Philadelphia Police or the DA’s Office directly. LGBTQ+ Philadelphians experience violence of all kinds every day; few people used their platforms to remind powerful people in government of that reality as effectively as Josh Kruger did. Josh and the communities he advocated for every day of his life deserve nothing less than justice and accountability for this outrageous crime.”

U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania mourned Kruger’s death on X, formerly Twitter, writing, “Josh cared deeply about Philly and fiercely advocated for the most vulnerable communities through his journalism. He will be sorely missed.”

“Josh was a complex, beautiful person who believed fiercely in justice and wrote with fire and compassion that few others can. He was also my friend of over a decade and the world is worse for not having his keen insight and big heart,” Mathew Rodriguez, writer and former editor at The Body said in a statement to The Advocate.

Kruger won several awards for his work, including awards for commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2014 and 2015 and the Edith Hughes Emerging Journalist Award from the Pennsylvania News Media Association in 2015.

So far police have identified no suspect in his death. There was no sign of forced entry. “Either the door was open, or the offender knew how to get the door open,” Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore said, according to the Inquirer. “We just don’t know yet.”

Police sources who spoke to the paper anonymously said Kruger’s death may have been due to a dispute with a partner or may have been drug-related. They said methamphetamine was found in Kruger’s bedroom. He had been open about having been addicted to meth in the past.

He had recently written on social media about some troubling interactions, the Inquirer notes. He said a former partner had gained entry to his home with a copy of his keys. After the man left, Kruger changed the locks. He also wrote about a rock being thrown through his window and said two weeks ago that “a man I’ve never met once in my entire life” came to his house and threatened him. The stranger claimed to be looking for his boyfriend and called himself Lady Diabla, the She-Devil of the Streets.”

Kruger’s friends said he did not hesitate to write about the hardships he had faced, including addiction and homelessness. He supported himself through sex work at one point. He said his Christian faith and his friends helped him through tough times.

“Make no mistake: I would not be alive today and living the life I have were it not for the charity and good works of human beings,” he wrote on Medium in 2017. “Yet, I am convinced with absolute certainty that there were also invisible forces around, behind, and within me, too.”

Kruger was proud of having bought his row house, and he loved bicycling and rescuing cats, including those that were difficult to place. He had most recently taken in Mason, a senior cat with one tooth. His family and friends are seeking a new home for Mason.

This article originally appeared on, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Equal Pride.

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Trudy Ring

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