Public safety walk held in Point Breeze following shooting death of Philadelphia journalist and policy advocate

“We should never have to live in a city where someone’s life is taken and we go about our lives as if nothing has ever happened,” Councilmember Johnson said.

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Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson stands in a circle with other people holding hands.

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson joined community activists in a prayer circle ahead of the Public Safety Walk on Oct. 4, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson led a “Peace-Not-Guns Public Safety Walk” Wednesday after award-winning Philadelphia journalist and community activist Josh Kruger was killed in his Point Breeze home earlier this week.

Kruger was shot seven times in the 2300 block of Watkins Street around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, according to 6abc. No arrests have been made, and a person of interest has not been publicly identified. An investigation is ongoing.

Councilmember Johnson, who represents Point Breeze, called Kruger’s death “unacceptable” and said the walk was to “address the trauma.”

“When a life is taken, you don’t impact only the family, but also you impact the actual neighbors that live in the community,” Johnson said. “Waking up in the morning — as myself — as a resident of Point Breeze, and learning that someone was murdered inside their home … it’s totally unacceptable. It just shows how we have to make this the number one priority here in Philadelphia, which is keeping our neighborhoods and our people safe.”

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According to Philadelphia Police, 334 homicides have occurred in the city as of Oct. 3, which is 18% lower than what was reported this time last year.

“When you talk about the issue of gun violence here in the city of Philadelphia, we’re in a crisis, we’re in a state of emergency,” Johnson said. “We should never have to live in a city where someone’s life is taken and we go about our lives as if nothing has ever happened. And so we continue to come out here and talk to the community around this type of issue as relates to gun violence in the city of Philadelphia.”

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Kruger’s reporting often focused on his experience as an HIV-positive gay man who lived through homelessness and addiction, and on politics and policy related to the LGBTQ+ community, drug use, and people living on the street.

Kruger worked for the city of Philadelphia for half a decade, overseeing the mayor’s social media platforms and policy campaigns while acting as communications director and spokesperson for the city’s Office of Homeless Services.

Kruger wrote for multiple outlets during his journalism career, including Billy Penn, WHYY, The Philadelphia Citizen, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Many paid tributes to Kruger following his death, including multiple federal and local politicians. The William Way LGBT Community Center, where Kruger was development coordinator from 2009-2011, is working with his family and friends to organize a celebration of his life, executive director Chris Bartlett wrote on Facebook.

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