Robert Edmond Davis, the alleged murderer of gay journalist Josh Kruger, surrendered to police on Oct. 25. Davis, 19, is charged with murder, firearms violations and tampering with evidence.
Kruger was an award-winning gay journalist who covered the plight of numerous individuals, including victims of gun violence, the homeless and those living with HIV. On Oct. 2, around 1:30 a.m. he was shot multiple times inside his Point Breeze residence and died about 45 minutes later.
Police reportedly have been searching for Davis for the past two weeks.
Davis was arrested on the evening of Oct. 25 at the home of his mother, after police were notified of his whereabouts.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, close relatives of Davis have suggested Kruger was involved sexually with Davis for about five years prior to Kruger’s death. They also conjectured that Kruger supplied Davis with illicit drugs and threatened to publicly disclose their relationship if Davis didn’t comply with Kruger’s sexual desires.
However, friends of Kruger have questioned that account, noting that Kruger was a caring individual who championed the downtrodden. Kruger’s friends also scoffed at the notion that Kruger would threaten to blackmail someone or threaten to out someone on social media.
Officer Tanya Little, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department, issued this statement: “During the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, 19-year-old Robert Davis was arrested and charged with the murder of Joshua Kruger. He is charged with Murder, Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, and related offenses.”
Jane Roh, a spokesperson for District Attorney Larry Krasner, issued this statement: “The DA’s Office will be charging Robert Davis with Murder, Possession of Instrument of Crime, Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act [No License], Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act [Public Carrying], and Tampering With Evidence. This is an active and ongoing investigation being led by Philadelphia Police. Questions about developments in the investigation should be directed to PPD.”
Justin F. Robinette, a civil-rights attorney and friend of Kruger, expressed concern that Kruger is being maligned posthumously.
“It’s painful to see a member of our community treated this way,” Robinette told PGN. “Published reports are disparaging his name and it’s not right. How would anyone feel if their character was assassinated and they weren’t here to defend themselves? The victim of violence is Josh Kruger. And the violence needs to stop.”
Asa Khalif, a community advocate, said he’s keeping an open mind about the ongoing investigation.
“We need the entire truth and not just one version,” Khalif told PGN. “I’m not excusing the murder of Josh Kruger at all. But if the allegations of sexual abuse are true, Robert Davis is also a victim as well.”
Prior to his death, Kruger, 39, won several journalism awards. He also worked for the City of Philadelphia for about five years, overseeing the mayor’s social media platforms and policy campaigns, and acting as communications director and spokesperson for the city’s Office of Homeless Services.
Friends remembered him as a vivacious individual and a devout Christian. They said he lavished care and devotion on his beloved cat Mason. Friends also said Kruger took great pride in decorating his Point Breeze rowhome.
A Celebration of Life for Kruger, previously scheduled for Oct. 29 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, has been postponed indefinitely.