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Crime & Courts

Palmer man charged with murder in Mat-Su road-rage shooting

A Palmer man is facing first- and second-degree murder charges after he fatally shot another man during a Sunday road-rage encounter, Alaska State Troopers said.

Gavin Christiansen, 38, called and reported to MATCOM dispatchers around 8:50 p.m. Sunday that he was engaged in a road-rage incident that began in Willow, troopers said in an online statement.

He told dispatchers he was “going to shoot someone because he was involved in a hit-and-run and they pointed a gun at him,” according to charging documents filed Monday in Palmer Superior Court. Just moments later, Christiansen fatally shot 35-year-old Devin Moorhouse of Anchorage, the charges said.

Christiansen was running as a Libertarian candidate for Alaska Senate District F this year. He withdrew from the race in August due to health complications, according to his Facebook page, but his name will still appear on the ballot.

“The incident began when Moorhouse and a juvenile passenger were doing ‘doughnuts’ around Christiansen’s vehicle that was parked in a gravel pit off Willow-Fishhook Road,” the charges said.

Moorhouse’s vehicle struck Christiansen’s, which caused an argument, the documents said.

Christiansen fired multiple shots at Moorhouse’s vehicle as he drove away, and investigators said 15 spent 9mm cartridge casings were found in the area. The back of Moorhouse’s vehicle was hit several times, the charges said.

Christiansen pursued Moorhouse on Willow-Fishhook Road toward Hatcher Pass and then back toward the Parks Highway, according to the charges. At one point, Moorhouse turned off his vehicle’s lights and tried to hide in a driveway from Christiansen, investigators wrote.

As the pursuit continued, Moorhouse lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a ditch near Mile 37 of Willow-Fishhook Road, troopers said. Moorhouse’s vehicle was facing Christiansen’s and the charges say Christiansen pulled up “mirror to mirror and pointed a gun at Moorhouse and his passenger.” The juvenile tried to grab a rifle from the back seat, charges said.

From only a few feet away, the charges said, Christiansen fired multiple rounds into the closed window of Moorhouse’s vehicle, striking him in the upper torso and neck multiple times. Moorhouse died at the scene but the juvenile passenger was not injured.

Christiansen is in custody at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.

The Alaska Libertarian Party said in a statement Monday that they are not taking an official position on the incident but offered condolences to those impacted by the crime. Christiansen had requested endorsement by the party but withdrew from the race before the board of directors had finished the evaluation process, the statement said.

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