Former Valley legislative candidate sentenced in fatal road-rage shooting

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Gavin Sullivan Christiansen, a 41-year-old resident of Palmer who ran for State Senate in 2020, received a sentence of 25 years to serve for a fatal shooting incident that took place in October 2020.

The sentence was handed down by Superior Court Judge Kari Kristiansen. Christiansen will serve on felony probation after his release.

The charges brought against Christiansen included second-degree murder, misconduct involving weapons in the first degree, and three counts of assault in the third degree. A Palmer jury convicted him of these charges in March, leading to his sentencing this week.

The incident in question occurred on Oct. 11, 2020, when Christiansen contacted 911 to report a hit-and-run incident involving his vehicle near Mile 37 of Wasilla-Fishhook Road in Willow. However, the subsequent investigation revealed a much darker turn of events.

According to the investigation, Christiansen had been outside of his vehicle when his car was struck in the hit-and-run. Rather than simply reporting the incident and awaiting authorities, Christiansen allegedly fired approximately 15 shots at the departing vehicle before deciding to pursue it. The vehicle was being driven by 35-year-old Devin Moorhouse.

The pursuit continued for approximately five miles before Moorhouse lost control of his vehicle and ended up in a ditch, stranding him and his juvenile passenger. During this time, Christiansen made a declaration while on the phone with Matanuska-Susitna dispatch, stating, “I am about to shoot somebody.” He proceeded to fire several shots into Moorhouse’s vehicle, ultimately killing Moorhouse. Fortunately, the juvenile passenger emerged uninjured.

Christiansen claimed that Moorhouse had pointed a firearm at him as he approached the stranded vehicle. However, the subsequent investigation revealed that Moorhouse’s gun was not loaded, casting doubt on the self-defense argument put forth by Christiansen’s defense.

During the court proceedings in March, Palmer Assistant District Attorney Kerry Corliss emphasized that while Alaska does have a “stand your ground” self-defense law, it does not condone pursuing individuals.

Corliss argued that Christiansen had actively pursued Moorhouse for miles after firing at him, making it difficult to justify self-defense in this case. Corliss asserted that Moorhouse had the right to employ self-defense as he had clearly tried to disengage from the conflict by fleeing twice.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, more guns make everybody safer. It was a fender bender, and:

    1) One guy is going to jail and will need to live with his guilt forever,
    2) The other guy is dead, causing immense suffering for his family, and,
    3) Some poor kid now needs to grow up without a father (speculation), and that after seeing him shot to death in cold blood.

    Once guns enter the mix, a situation can rapidly spin irreversibly out of control.

    You might have the right to Stand Your Ground, but there is also a Duty to Retreat when possible so as not to unnecessarily put a life at stake. Or to put it another way, “Don’t kill nothing that don’t need killing.”

    Kudos to the jury who convicted him. I hope he can get some anger management treatment in the Alaska prison system. Lord knows he needs it.

    • As usual, you have no clue what you’re talking about. And less about human nature.

      If you really give a damn, you should work to outlaw cars. Cars kill far more people than guns ever dream of.

      • Cars are designed and used for transportation. A byproduct is they crash at times and people die. You are also required to have a license to operate. Such a requirement for firearms is probably necessary. Nothing Hans said wasn’t false.

    • Spoken like a true Peltola supporter. You run into someone with your car, you STOP moron. But liberals don’t think laws apply to them.

  2. If moorehouse pointed a gun at him, it doesn’t matter if it was loaded or not. There’s no law saying when someone points a gun at that you need to ascertain if it’s loaded or not. The two “victims” hit his vehicle then fled…..we don’t know what kind of altercation took place leading up to them crashing into his vehicle….maybe they flashed their weapon as an attempt at intimidation or robbery.
    He never should have followed them but saying that he is entirely at fault for the events is ignorant. But as with most cases I’m sure they didn do nuffin and this crazy white right wing lunatic racist with a gun just went crazy and started blasting’.
    Yeah, right.

  3. What got him was the long pursuit following shooting at him in the first place. If Christiansen had fired at Morehouse (and had killed him) AFTER Morehouse had presented and pointed his handgun first (loaded or unloaded) at the crash scene, he would have had a defense. Chasing someone for miles then shooting them has very little to do with any aspect of self-defense or stand your ground. Christiansen had his brain in travel-lock.

  4. Come on really point a gun at the cops or troopers your dun
    Dude was well within his rights
    Except the jury and the mind set of today
    We’ll I be watching how that all works out for you over the near future

    • Well within his rights to chase him down for miles and gun him down? I hope you don’t carry a firearm because you clearly can’t think critically enough to know when to use it.

  5. 1. He should have never fired the 1st 15 roubds as Moorehouse drove away.

    2. He should not have pusued him except to get a lic plate to report to LEO.

    3. He clearly did not fear for his life becasue he pursued Moorehouse and then said “I am going to shoot someone”

    4. Why apporach the vehicle after it goes in the ditch with your gun in hand but ti BE the threat.

    5. Even if Moorehouse drew his weapon at the ditch, it is because he was now the victim being targeted and would have been justified to shoot.

    6. Anyone defending Christense is very ignoarant of self-defense laws and common sense. You don’t get to just pop off 15 rounds, follow people, then shoot again.

    That is not self defense or moral.

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