A Palmer man was convicted this week on numerous charges, including murder and manslaughter, for a road-rage encounter that ended in a fatal shooting on Willow-Fishhook Road.
Gavin Christiansen, now 41, chased 35-year-old Devin Moorhouse in his vehicle and fired numerous shots before ultimately killing him while on the phone with 911 dispatchers on Oct. 11, 2020, according to charges filed in the case.
Christiansen was running as a Libertarian candidate for Alaska Senate District F that year. He had withdrawn from the race due to health complications prior to the fatal shooting, but his name appeared on the ballot.
Moorhouse and a juvenile passenger “were doing doughnuts” around Christiansen’s vehicle in a gravel pit when they struck the vehicle, according to a sworn affidavit written by Alaska State Trooper Todd Moehring. The collision sparked an argument and Moorhouse drove away from the gravel pit, the affidavit said.
Christiansen fired at the vehicle and troopers later said they found 15 spent 9 mm shell casings there. Christiansen began pursuing Moorhouse and chased him for roughly 5 miles before Moorhouse’s vehicle went into the ditch, the affidavit said.
Christiansen drove up to Moorhouse’s vehicle and shot him through a closed window, according to the affidavit. The passenger was not injured.
Christiansen had called 911 during the pursuit and told the operator he was going to shoot someone, the charges said. A moment later, the dispatcher heard gunfire and yelling, the affidavit said.
During the trial, Christiansen’s attorney Neal Ainsworth said he argued that his client shot Moorhouse in self-defense because Moorhouse pointed a gun at him. Assistant District Attorney Kerry Corliss said Moorhouse had repeatedly tried to withdraw from the conflict by fleeing from Christiansen.
Christiansen was convicted by a Palmer jury on Monday of second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree misconduct involving weapons and three counts of third-degree assault.
He is currently incarcerated at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility and is scheduled for sentencing in June. Ainsworth said Christiansen will likely appeal the verdict.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Christiansen was convicted by a Palmer grand jury. He was convicted Monday by a Palmer jury.