A friend has been charged in the death of a Philadelphia writer who went from sleeping on the street to working for the mayor and penning columns about the city’s most critical social issues.
Robert Edmond Davis, 19, is charged with murder, firearms possession, and other offences in the killing of Josh Kruger, 39, who was shot and murdered at his Philadelphia home on October 2. Four days later, a warrant was issued for Davis, and authorities claim they have video of him in the neighbourhood of Kruger’s home before the shooting.
Davis was arrested Wednesday night at his South Philadelphia home. Authorities have stated that the motivation for the homicide is unknown, but that the two were in a relationship.
It was unclear on Thursday if Davis had hired an attorney. Damica Davis, his mother, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that if her son did murder Kruger, there is no excuse, noting that “it’s tragic what happened, but I feel like my son is a victim in this, as well.”
Kruger was shot seven times at 1:30 a.m. and slumped in the street after requesting assistance, according to police. A short while later, he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The slaying was keenly felt at City Hall and among those interested in his numerous causes, including addiction, homelessness, HIV and LGBTQ+ activism, 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 called City Council members cowards for prohibiting supervised injection sites in most parts of the city; dismissed debates over politically correct language about homelessness as irrelevant; and, in a final column, dove into the city’s collective grief over Temple University’s acting president JoAnne Epps’ sudden death last month.
Kruger managed the mayor’s social media and marketing for the Office of Homeless Services from about 2016 to 2021. He resigned from city government to pursue writing ventures.
He wrote for Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other newspapers at various periods, winning honours for his sensitive and often hilarious style.
He characterised himself on his website as a “militant bicyclist” and “a proponent of the singular they, the Oxford comma, and pre-Elon Twitter.”