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October 30, 2023

Robert Davis, suspect accused of killing journalist Josh Kruger, charged in separate shooting at SEPTA station

The 19-year-old allegedly shot at a man on the Tasker-Morris subway platform in September. Investigators linked him to that incident after Kruger's death

Investigations Shootings
Robert Davis SEPTA Source/SEPTA Transit Police

Robert Davis, 19, allegedly is shown in surveillance video from a shooting at SEPTA's Tasker-Morris station on Sept. 25. Davis was arrested last week and charged with murder in the Oct. 2 shooting of journalist Josh Kruger.

Robert Davis, the 19-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed journalist Josh Kruger in early October, has been charged in connection to another shooting that happened on a SEPTA platform eight days earlier, authorities said.

Davis was arrested last Wednesday and charged with murder in the Oct. 2 shooting that killed Kruger at his home in Point Breeze. Davis was identified as a suspect days after Kruger's death; he had been on the run until authorities took him into custody at his South Philadelphia home.

SEPTA Transit Police noticed that Davis resembled a suspect caught on surveillance video in a Sept. 25 shooting at the Tasker-Morris subway station, officials said.

In that incident, investigators said a suspect got into a fight with another man on the station platform around 5 a.m. The suspect pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a single shot in the direction of the man. No one was shot or injured in the shooting, police said. The suspect then fled the station.

SEPTA police had released a photo of the suspect in that shooting in hopes of receiving identifying information from the public. But after Philadelphia police named Davis as their suspect in the Kruger case, SEPTA authorities showed his photo to the man who was targeted at the subway station. The man identified Davis as the gunman, police said.

"SEPTA Police investigators identified Davis as the suspected Tasker-Morris shooter after the Josh Kruger shooting," SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said Monday. "We have been working closely with (Philadelphia police) on this investigation."

SEPTA police obtained an arrest warrant for Davis on Oct. 13, Busch said.

Court records show Davis was charged on Oct. 26 with aggravated assault and illegal gun possession charges stemming from the Tasker-Morris station shooting. He was charged the same day with murder and related offenses for allegedly killing Kruger.

Police have said Kruger, 39, was involved in a relationship with Davis. Members of Davis' family told the Inquirer that the relationship started when Davis was 15 and that it involved drugs and abuse. They claimed Kruger was threatening to post sexually explicit content of Davis online prior to the shooting.

Kruger was shot seven times in the chest and abdomen at 1:30 a.m. at his home on the 2300 block of Watkins Street. After the shooter fled, Kruger went outside to seek help from neighbors and collapsed on the sidewalk. Kruger died at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center a short time later.

Court records the Inquirer obtained in connection to the Tasker-Morris shooting provide additional details about the moments before Davis allegedly killed Kruger.

One voicemail police recovered from Kruger's phone reportedly was recorded about three minutes before he was killed. Investigators believe Kruger was arguing with someone at his front door and had told the person to leave. The phone number linked to the voicemail allegedly matched a number that belongs to Davis.

The court records also reportedly allege that Davis had broken Kruger's window on a date prior to the deadly shooting. Davis allegedly had stolen multiple guns from Kruger on past occasions, but none of those incidents were reported to police. 

During a search of Davis' family's home, authorities said they recovered a handgun from Davis' bedroom. The rounds found inside that weapon reportedly matched the cartridge casings found at the scene at Kruger's home.

Kruger was an award-winning journalist who once worked as a city spokesperson in the Office of Homeless Services. He returned to freelance journalism in 2021 and had been writing for various publications, including PhillyVoice, WHYY, The Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine. Kruger also was an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ communities who was open about his experiences with HIV, homelessness and addiction.

Davis is currently being held without bail at the city's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.