Former state Senate candidate convicted of murder in 2020 shooting

FastCast digital headlines for Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 12:15 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 3:58 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - A man charged with shooting into another vehicle and killing a man in a 2020 hit-and-run incident in Palmer was convicted Monday on murder charges.

A Palmer jury convicted 41-year-old Gavin Christiansen on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and second-degree misconduct involving weapons.

Christiansen ran for Alaska’s Senate District F in fall of 2020, a district representing Anchorage’s Abbott Loop neighborhood and part of the Lower Hillside, but withdrew his candidacy in late August of 2020.

The shooting on Oct. 11, 2020, involved Christiansen and two other people in a separate vehicle. Authorities say Christiansen called police to report that his car has been hit by a vehicle driven by 35-year-old Devin Moorhouse around mile 37 of Willow-Fishhook Road. Police said Moorhouse was accompanied by a juvenile passenger.

Police say Christiansen shot at the vehicle being driven by Moorhouse 15 times before taking off after Moorhouse in a chase that ended after approximately five miles when Moorhouse lost control and careened into a ditch.

Police say Christiansen was speaking with MATCOM dispatch on the phone when he approached the vehicle driven by Moorhouse in the ditch. Police say he told dispatch, “I am about to shoot somebody.”

“Christiansen then drove next to Moorhouse’s vehicle, mirror to mirror and pointed a gun at Moorhouse and his passenger,” the court documents state. “The juvenile passenger attempted to retrieve a rifle from the back seat but could not retrieve the rifle before Christiansen fired multiple rounds from inside his vehicle, at Moorhouse through Moorhouse’s closed window. They were only a few feet apart at the time of the shooting.”

The Department of Law wrote in a release that Christiansen told investigators that Moorhouse had pointed a firearm at him as he approached the vehicle.

“Moorhouse’s gun was found at the scene, but investigation revealed that it was not loaded,” the department said.

The department said Palmer Assistant District Attorney Kerry Corliss argued — in response to the defense’s argument of self-defense — that “Alaska has a stand your ground self-defense law, but it is stand your ground, not chase them down.”

Christiansen is scheduled to be sentenced in June. The department said he could get between 15 and 99 years in jail for a second-degree murder conviction.