Kernel photo editor shot, killed during robbery

Police investigate the scene of a fatal shooting on Maxwell Street in Lexington, Ky. Friday, April 17, 2015. University of Kentucky Student Jonathan Krueger was killed in was police are reporting as a violent robbery. Photo by David Stephenson

By Will Wright

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Kentucky Kernel photo editor Jonathan Krueger was shot and killed early Friday morning on the 400 block of East Maxwell Street.

Police have charged Justin D. Smith, 18, and Efrain Diaz, 20, with murder in the shooting. Smith was also charged with robbery, tampering with physical evidence, and fleeing and evading. Diaz was also charged with robbery.

The mayor’s office reported that Krueger was shot during a robbery at just after 2 a.m. Police arrived on the scene two minutes after they were called and found Krueger lying on the street, according to Police Chief Mark Barnard.

Krueger, 22, was walking along East Maxwell near Transylvania Park with another person when he was shot. An integrated strategic communications junior, Krueger was transported to UK Chandler Hospital and pronounced dead at 2:35 a.m. No one else was injured during the shooting.

“At this time we don’t think there is any link between our suspect and our victim,” Barnard said.

Smith was not a UK student, police said.

It is unknown whether or not there was an altercation between Krueger and the shooter, police said.

Police arrested Smith after finding him at a home near a vehicle that was believed to have fled the scene, Barnard said.

Dazmond Morgan, who lives on that block, said he heard four gunshots at about 2 a.m. and saw Krueger lying on the street. Morgan’s neighbor, he said, saw a red van drive away from the scene.

“I came out and saw the victim lying on the ground by himself,” Morgan said. “I saw he had a gunshot wound in the chest.”

See more: Remembering Jonathan Krueger

A native of Perrysburg, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo, Krueger was a valued member of the Kernel staff for his coverage of the NCAA tournament, among other things.

“There are two things about him that I found remarkable in combination: he was such a hard worker, but made everything look so easy,” said David Stephenson, photojournalism adviser for the Kernel. “He picked up and excelled at shooting sports, and you could tell by looking at his pictures how much he enjoyed shooting the athletes.”

Kernel staff remembered Krueger not just for his photos and work ethic, but for his contagiously upbeat personality.

“He was always, always committed to making sure everything got done on time and making sure that everyone had fun while they were doing it,” said Adam Pennavaria, Kernel assistant photo editor and journalism junior. “Pretty much every text message I got from him ended with an exclamation point. I don’t think I ever saw him in a bad mood, aside from the day after (the Cats) lost this year.”

Krueger was an all-around type of journalist, moving to wherever he was needed in the newsroom. If a page of the paper looked off, Krueger had an idea of how to fix it. Perhaps his most valued attribute, apart from his smile, was his creativity.

“He was a great kid, he loved what he was doing for the paper,” said Mary Krueger, Jonathan’s mother. “I opened up the paper this morning and saw he had one last picture in. He loved what he did down there and I know it was a big part of his life.”

Mary Krueger said no funeral arrangements had yet been made.

The Kentucky Kernel is hosting a memorial service Monday at 8 p.m. at Memorial Hall.