Openly gay journalist and LGBTQ+ advocate Josh Kruger fatally shot in Philadelphia home

Police tape

Journalist and LGBTQ+ advocate Josh Kruger has been fatally shot inside his Philadelphia home, police have confirmed.

Authorities were called to Kruger’s home in Point Breeze at 1.28 am on Monday (2 October).

When they arrived, they found the journalist with seven gunshot wounds in his chest and abdomen. Kruger, 39, was taken to hospital and pronounced dead at 2.13 am.

Police have said that no weapons were found at the scene and no arrests have been made as of yet, though investigations are ongoing.

It was a neighbour who called the police to Kruger’s address on Monday after overhearing the journalist’s screams for help followed by gunshots.

“Josh was calling for help and I called the police to make sure they’d come out for them,” Jaz Brown told CBS.

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Kruger used his platform to advocate for the most vulnerable people in his community – particularly homeless people, those living with addiction, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Before building notoriety as a journalist, Josh Kruger, who was openly gay, overcame both homelessness and addiction to work for Mayor Jim Kenney’s office.

Under Mayor Kenney, Kruger served for five years as the communications director for Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services, according to his personal website.

In 2021, Kruger went into journalism full-time, writing for publications like The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Citizen, and LGBTQ Nation.

Josh Kruger’s work covered his experience with homelessness, HIV, trauma, poverty, and Philadelphia’s “street economy.”

He has won multiple awards for his journalism, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Place Award for Newspaper Commentary in Pennsylvania and the Edith Hughes Emerging Journalist Award.

His website jokes that he has been described by critics as a “radical homosexual activist” and an “effeminate man-child.”

It also mentions that he resided in Point Breeze with his best friend, a “senior cat with one tooth named Mason.”

Kruger’s death has rocked locals, who championed the journalist’s efforts to lift up the most stigmatised people in the community.

Commenting on the devastating news of Kruger’s murder, the District Attorney’s Office LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee wrote: “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. We are devastated that Josh’s life was ended so violently.”

In a separate statement, Mayor Jim Kenney said that he was “shocked and saddened” by Kruger’s death.

“He cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident in his public service and writing,” he wrote.

“Our administration was fortunate to call him a colleague, and our prayers are with everyone who knew him.”

A friend and neighbour of Josh Kruger’s, Kendall Stephens, told CBS: “This is a shock to the system. A shock to the community.

“I am so upset. I can barely think straight. He was loved by so many people.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him. Someone in your house and someone can just barge in a kill you. And for what?”

Stephens, a trans woman, noted that it was Kruger who stood up for her when she was attacked outside of her home back in 2020.

“When I was a victim of a hate crime, he was one of the first people to be neighborly and come over and provide support. Kind words. At that time I feared for my safety. I feared people would come back again.

“We admired each other because I was an activist on the front lines with my blow horn but he used journalism as a form of activism.

“He used journalism as a way to speak about the societal ills that affect our most vulnerable communities and he cared so deeply about the communities.”