On his LinkedIn page, Kruger described himself as an “award-winning writer and communications strategist.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney confirmed Kruger’s death on X (formerly called Twitter). “Shocked and saddened by Josh 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.”
On September 30, 2023, Kruger shared a tweet by Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, that read, “If Biden is elected, there’s a good chance you will be dead within the year.” He had engaged in debate with conservatives on X over conservative incarceration policies regarding crime, policies he opposed, especially relating to drug offenders.
“The Dilbert dude is like Nostradamus. Look at this prediction from 2020. Wow. Eerie,” Kruger wrote.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Josh Kruger Was Shot ‘at the Base of His Stairs,’ Reports Say
According to the Inquirer, the homicide occurred early Monday October 2, 2023, in what detectives believe “may have been a domestic-related killing.”
A suspect has not been publicly identified.
The Inquirer reported that police found Kruger on the sidewalk near his home suffering multiple gunshot wounds and rushed him to a hospital, where he died. Police told the Inquirer they believe the gunman entered the home and shot Kruger “at the base of his stairs,” at which point the wounded journalist ran outside to get help from neighbors.
The Inquirer reported, via law enforcement sources, that police believe the death also might be drug-related as they found methamphetamine inside Kruger’s home and “recovered troubling text messages between Kruger and a former partner.”
In April, Kruger tweeted, “This morning, I fed Mason breakfast then fell back to sleep briefly only to startle awake with a man I used to be friendly with in my bedroom. He did not have permission to be there. The door was locked, so he had somehow obtained a copy of my keys.”
It’s not clear whether that post is related to his death in any way. Mason is his cat.
The Inquirer reported that he had known the man for years and once let him stay at his house after the man was released from jail. According to the Inquirer, Kruger also wrote on Facebook that “someone came to his house searching for their boyfriend,” referring to the person as “a man I’ve never met once in my entire life” who called themselves “Lady Diabla, the She-Devil of the Streets.” The person threatened him, the Inquirer reported he wrote. Those posts are not visible on his public Facebook page.
2. Josh Kruger Described Himself as a Reporter, Editor & ‘Proud Philadelphian’ Who Was a ‘Destroyer of Stigma & Bureaucratic Silos’
On his LinkedIn page, Kruger described himself as a “destroyer of stigma and bureaucratic silos.”
“Writer with years of experience interacting with the public on the Internet,” he wrote. “Experience in journalism as a columnist, reporter, and editor and in local government communications. Award-winner and award-loser, proud Philadelphian, user of Twitter, and a believer in the common good and the value of easy to understand, simple messages. Destroyer of stigma and bureaucratic silos. Fan of cats.”
For more than two years, he was self-employed, according to his LinkedIn page. “Works with a variety of clients, including journalistic publications for news and opinion writing as well as civic, nonprofit, and corporate entities. Advisor and consultant to progressive advocacy and political campaigns,” it explained.
He was previously a columnist and editor for Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia City Paper, according to his LinkedIn page, which lists several journalism awards.
3. Josh Kruger, Who Wrote About Topics Ranging From Trauma to Homelessness, Worked at Philadelphia City Hall as a Communications Director
In addition to journalism, Kruger worked in government public affairs. He worked for the City of Philadelphia Department of Health and Office of Homeless Services.
“Described as a ‘radical homosexual activist’ and an ‘effeminate man-child’ by critics, Josh Kruger is a writer and communications expert known for weaving his unique lived experience with homelessness, HIV, Philadelphia’s ‘street economy,’ trauma, and poverty throughout his commentary and writing,” his LinkedIn page says.
“He spent five years in local government as a City Hall content director, spokesperson, and communications director before returning to journalism in 2021. He uses his expert knowledge of local government and politics to bring unparalleled insight to the news and special consulting projects.”
4. Josh Kruger called Himself a ‘Militant Bicyclist’ & ‘Member of the LGBTQ Community’
On LinkedIn, Kruger described himself as a “member of the LGBTQ community, he resides in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia. Josh is a proponent of the singular they, the Oxford comma, and Twitter.”
“He is a militant bicyclist, Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian and parishioner at St. Mark’s Church on Locust Street, and lives with his best friend, his senior cat with one tooth named Mason,” his page says.
“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,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasney wrote in a statement.
“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.”
5. Josh Kruger Tweeted Against Incarceration for Drug Offenders & Users
On X, Kruger spoke out against pro-incarceration policies, especially for drug offenders.
“This mindset is antediluvian and would call for a dramatic expansion of the failed criminalization policies of last century,” he wrote. “At this point, in 2023, it implies resentment of American democracy given society has reached a clear consensus that locking everyone up is bad policy.”
He revealed, “I’m a formerly homeless daily IV drug user who started making changes back in 2013.”
Kruger tweeted, “We’ve sunk billions into “ending drugs” by cutting off supply for decades. It’s deranged to repeat failed, costly policies. But this is irrelevant to this issue. Safe injection sites prevent OD death. That’s all they do. I think we should prevent OD death. That’s just me.”
He also criticized Republican politicians on X.