News (USA)

He gunned down a gay journalist & left him to die. Now he’s paying the price.

Josh Kruger Photo: Josh Kruger Twitter

The young man who shot and killed Philadelphia LGBTQ+ activist and writer Josh Kruger has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.

The murderer, 20-year-old Robert Davis, had allegedly been in a relationship with Kruger, according to Davis’s family. Davis pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and related offenses.

Kruger was shot seven times at his home in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania early on the morning of October 2, 2023. Kruger managed to call for help before collapsing in the street.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Kruger was well-known in Philadelphia for his activism and time as communications director and spokesperson for the city’s Office of Homeless Services. He was an accomplished journalist as well, writing for LGBTQ NationThe Philadelphia Citizen, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications.

Four days after Kruger, age 39, was gunned down, police identified Davis as his alleged killer. Investigators described Davis as a troubled young man who Kruger was trying to help “get through life.” 

Davis’s family asserts Kruger and Davis were in a years-long relationship involving sex and drugs that started when Davis was 15 years old, and Kruger was an adult.

The family said Davis’ life was slowly unraveling as he tried to keep his drug addiction and relationship with Kruger hidden.

Sources shared those claims with local media as investigators discovered explicit photos and messages on Kruger’s phone, which the sources described as “disturbing.” Whether or not they were related to Davis was unclear. Sources also said meth was discovered in Kruger’s bedroom. Kruger wrote publicly about his past meth addiction and wrote many articles about others struggling with houselessness and addiction.

Davis’ mother said her son called her just hours after Philadelphia police burst into her home searching for Davis shortly after Kruger’s murder. She said she urged him to turn himself in.

“He was scared,” she said.

Davis told her Kruger “wanted me to do some stuff I didn’t want to do and if I didn’t do it, he said he was going to blackmail me.”

After more than two weeks on the run, Davis climbed through a window into his family’s home in South Philadelphia.

Davis’s mother told the Inquirer her son was mentally breaking down over the potential murder charges he faced. His brother Jaylin said he appeared to be drunk or on drugs. The brother decided to help Davis turn himself in.

“I didn’t want him to keep living outside and going around and doing something to put himself in a deeper hole,” Jaylin Reason said.

In the weeks before his murder, Kruger appeared to be under duress as he shared bizarre stories on social media about strangers harassing him at home and causing a scene for neighbors.

“I’m not particularly consumed with what people thought. It’s all going in the book though,” Kruger posted to Facebook.

In another Facebook post, Kruger claimed he was the victim of a targeted attack when a “heavy glass egg projectile” crashed through his front window. He asked for help identifying a black truck that he said fled the scene.

While Kruger was transparent in his writing about his own struggles in the past — with HIV, homelessness, sex work, and his addiction to meth — police sources say he was concealing other parts of his life, including his relationship with Davis.

In a statement after Kruger’s death, Bil Browning, executive editor of LGBTQ Nation’s parent company Q.Digital, wrote, “Josh embodied everything I value in a friend. He was thoughtful and kind. He was dedicated to championing the underdog and fighting for justice. He spoke his mind and he had no patience for bulls**t or broken promises.

“Josh overcame a lot of issues in his life,” Browning wrote, “and then spent the rest of it fighting for those still struggled.”

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

ACLU sues small town after it rescinded a Pride festival’s approval

Previous article

Anti-LGBTQ+ student thought he’d get away with urinating on a family’s Pride flag. He got busted.

Next article