Troubling Allegations Arise About Murdered Philadelphia Journalist Josh Kruger

"Josh was in a bad place," says Kruger's brother. "We're just not sure how bad of a place."

josh kruger, who was murdered recently at his Point Breeze home

Josh Kruger, who was murdered recently at his Point Breeze home (Photo via Josh Kruger/Facebook)

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Troubling Allegations Arise About Murdered Philadelphia Journalist Josh Kruger

Some things are harder to write about than others.

For the past couple of weeks, many Philadelphians have been grieving the loss of journalist and activist Josh Kruger. He was shot and killed at his Point Breeze home on October 2nd. (Full disclosure: Kruger was a friend of mine, and he previously freelanced for Philly Mag.) The murder, in a town with many murders that don’t get a ton of coverage, made national news. His death elicited statements from both Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner. The city is planning a celebration-of-life service.

Last week, police announced they had obtained an arrest warrant for Robert Davis. They named the 19-year-old the prime suspect, asking for the public’s help in bringing him in. Davis is still at large and considered by police to be armed and dangerous.

At the press conference where police made that announcement, they also said they believed Kruger had been helping Davis “get through life.” To those of us who knew Kruger, that lined up. Kruger had struggled with drugs and housing instability at times. And we knew that he helped others with similar struggles.

But shortly after police named Davis as the suspect, rumblings began to emerge that there was more to the story of Kruger’s connection to Davis. Earlier this week, a source familiar with details of the investigation into Kruger’s murder told me that police had accessed Kruger’s cell phone and found “troubling” messages between the two.

And now, the family of Davis has come forward with alarming allegations against Kruger. Inquirer crime reporter Ellie Rushing landed a feature on Wednesday in which Davis’s mother and brother claim that Kruger’s relationship with Davis began when Davis was just 15 and that the relationship included sex and drugs. They also said Davis told them that Kruger had threatened to post sexually explicit videos of him online. Rushing reports that investigators found “disturbing” images and messages on Kruger’s phone. That content is now in the hands of the Special Victims Unit.

“I’m hoping to God that there is no truth to this,” Kruger’s brother Zachary told me on Thursday morning. “But what has become clear to us is that Josh was in a bad place. We’re just not sure how bad of a place. I went through his house after police called me. And there are certain things I found that make it clear there were problems with Josh.”

Zachary wouldn’t elaborate other than to say that he found “lots and lots of small baggies” in Josh’s home “as well as the kind of scale you would use to weigh drugs.” Police indicated early on in the investigation that they had found methamphetamines in Josh’s bedroom, though they didn’t specify how much. Josh had previously written about his struggles with meth use over the years.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he was dealing,” Zachary said. “But if he was, and whatever is true about Robert Davis — and let’s remember that it’s the family [of Davis] saying these things — nobody deserves to be murdered like that. We lost our other brother in July. And now this. My mom is a mess.”

John Fetterman on Colbert

Those of you who aren’t fast asleep before midnight may have seen John Fetterman on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night. As with anything Fetterman-related, lots of people are talking about it. He threw punches at Republican lawmakers and Fox News. He brought up the body-double conspiracy. And he opened up about his depression and recovery from a stroke. You can watch the entire segment here.

Local Talent

Philly music great Kurt Vile played two sold-out shows at Ardmore Music Hall earlier this week as part of the Philly Music Festival. Local rap legend Schoolly D (read our interview with him here) joined him on Monday night. And who showed up on Tuesday night, two days after he helped take apart the Rams?

Yes, Jason Kelce. So he’s a Super Bowl champion and has good taste in music.

And in Hollywood tabloid news, for those of you who care about such things, Jada Pinkett Smith just revealed that she’s been separated from Pride of Overbrook Will Smith since 2016. I’m going to speculate that their troubles began with that M. Night calamity After Earth.

By the Numbers

$878: Cost, including taxes and fees, of a pair of standing-room-only tickets for Thursday night’s Phillies-Braves playoff game on StubHub. When you factor in all those $13 domestic beers, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Phillies merch, Uber or parking, etc., well, just make sure your rent is paid this month!

3: Blocks of Girard Avenue in Fishtown where Councilmember Mark Squilla wants to institute a food-truck ban, in part because of all the trash left behind by those trucks’ partying late-night customers. A public hearing on the proposed ban is scheduled for October 17th.

$10: Cost to adopt a dog from ACCT through October 15th. ACCT is Philly’s largest animal shelter, but they’ve been euthanizing about 20 percent of the animals in their care because they’ve run out of space. They have 130 dogs that need to be adopted now.

And from the Chop-That! Sports Desk …

It was Aaron Nola for the Phils last night in the third game of their NLDS playoff with the Braves, back at home at CBP, and he got the first two batters, then gave up barely-there singles to Austin Riley and Matt Olson. That brought up — gulp — Marcell Ozuna, and Nola struck him out! Bryce Elder was on the mound for Atlanta, and he got Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, those last two on strikeouts. Nola put down three straight in the second, with another two strikeouts, but Elder mirrored the feat. And in the top of the third, Atlanta went up 1-0 on a Ron Acuña double and an Ozzie Albies single. Nola then walked Olson but got Ozuna swinging for the final out. And Nick Castellanos led off the bottom half by tying it with one swing.

(The Athletic had a poignant Castellanos story last week, BTW.) Brandon Marsh then singled, Rojas popped up, Schwarbs moved Marsh to second on a ground-out, and that’s when things got interesting. Turner singled, and Harper smashed a three-run homer. Now hear this!

And yeah, damn straight he stared trash-talkin’ Orlando Arcia down. After Alec Bohm singled and Bryson Stott walked, Michael Tonkin took over for Elder, and a J.T. Realmuto double brought in two more runs: 6-1! And in the fifth? Oops! He did it again: Bryce with another whack over the wall. The hometown fans let loose with a wild, derisive tomahawk-chop chant.

In the sixth, Nola allowed a single to Ozuna between strikeouts of Olson and Travis d’Arnaud, then came out for Matt Strahm as the crowd cheered his nine-strikeout night. Orlando Arcia knocked Ozuna home with a single, but then it was Turner’s turn to go yard in the bottom half. In the seventh, Seranthony Dominguez, in for Strahm, allowed just an Albies single, and the Braves’ just-called-up A.J. Smith-Shawver, pitching the bottom half, went three-up, three-down. Hey, we’re happy for the kid! Besides, after we went Kerkering in the eighth — Orion gave up an Ozuna infield hit and nothin’ else — Smith-Shawver gave up another Nick round-tripper: 9-2. Ridonkulous! Next-up Marsh didn’t want to be left out, so he hit the Phils’ sixth homer of the game. That’s where it stayed: 10-2 final!

Next game’s tonight in our house again, first pitch at 8:07 (note the very welcome later time), with Spencer Strider on the mound for the Braves. And we ain’t scared of him no more.

Hoop Dreams?

The Sixers had another pre-season match-up with the Celtics last night, this time at home, and they were playing again without Joel Embiid and James Harden but with recently reacquired Danny Green. The Celtics were without Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. At the close of the first, the Sixers were down, 35-31, but they tied it at 40 in the second and even briefly led before ending the half down 67-59. They came back again to tie it in the third and then fell way back, to 90-75, at its close, and ended with a 112-101 loss. It’s pre-season; who cares?

Oh, and tomorrow? The Flyers also play.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.