Gavin S. Christiansen, who ran for Legislature in 2020, convicted of murder, manslaughter, and more

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A Palmer jury on Monday convicted Gavin Sullivan Christiansen, 41, of murder in the second degree, manslaughter, and misconduct involving weapons in the second degree, among other charges related to a vehicle chase after a hit and run incident.

Christiansen, who ran for Senate Seat F, Wasilla, was still on the 2020 ballot as a petition Libertarian candidate, although he had withdrawn from the race, which was won decisively by Sen. Shelley Hughes.

Weeks before the election, Christiansen was involved in a road rage incident, during which he chased, shot, and killed Devin Moorhouse, 35, of Anchorage. The car Moorhouse was driving had a child as a passenger, but the child was not hit by the bullets.

The incident occurred Oct. 11, 2020, when Christiansen contacted 911 to report that his vehicle had been struck in a hit and run and that he was pursuing the person who hit him and was near Mile 37 of Wasilla-Fishook Road in Willow.  

An investigation revealed that Chistiansen was outside of his vehicle when his car was struck and that Christiansen had fired from his gun at the departing vehicle approximately 15 times before he began pursuing the vehicle driven by Moorhouse. 

The pursuit lasted for approximately five miles before Moorhouse lost control of his vehicle and went off the road, stranding Moorhouse and his juvenile passenger in a ditch. 

While on the phone with the dispatch office, Christiansen drove up to Moorhouse’s driver’s side window and announced, “I am about to shoot somebody” and then fired several shots into Moorhouse’s vehicle, killing Moorhouse.

Christiansen told investigators that Moorhouse had pointed a firearm at him as Christiansen approached the stranded vehicle. Moorhouse’s gun was found at the scene, but investigation revealed that it was not loaded, the State Department of Law wrote.

Christiansen had argued it was self-defense, but Palmer Assistant District Attorney Kerry Corliss said in response, “Alaska has a stand your ground self-defense law, but it is stand your ground, not chase them down.”

Corliss stated that the Christiansen had shot at the victim and then pursued him for miles and that the victim had every right to employ self-defense because he had unequivocally communicated his withdrawal from the conflict by fleeing twice.

Christiansen’s sentencing is scheduled for June. The sentence range for second-degree murder is 15 to 99 years.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Hot pursuit with a gun is not self defense. On the other hand, he wouldn’t know whether or not the victim’s gun was unloaded or loaded. If the victim drew his unloaded gun on Christianson at the scene, self defense could still be asserted. Who was Christianson’s defense lawyer?

  2. Hot head, pursuit, no threat, and now he goes to prison. It’s a vehicle that can be repaired/replaced. Prosecutor is right, stand your ground doesn’t equate to chasing them down.

  3. Two wrongs don’t equal a right. Both men were living wrong making bad choices. Another example how much Alaska need God. Without God and we all are a walking disaster.

  4. If I remember correctly, wasn’t Mr. Moorhouse doing donuts repeatedly and wildly with that child in the car when he struck Mr. Christiansen’s car, and then sped off? Obviously, that didn’t “deserve” a death sentence, but stupidity regularly results in death. Looks to me like a couple of very dangerous men have been removed from society, and frankly, that doesn’t happen often enough. There are a lot of them out there, many of whom the justice system just keeps releasing upon us. Indeed, I’ll bet Mr. Christiansen will be walking the streets within 10 years.

  5. Two idiots with cars and guns. Now there is a child that has to deal with the trauma and families who have a dead loved one and one who will be in jail for a long time. Nothing good here.

    • Yeah, that’s right. This is America, where shooting 15 rounds at someone while in hot pursuit and then gunning them down in cold blood doesn’t even make the news. Nowadays it’s gotta be a mass shooting with at least 10 deaths before it even turns our heads.

  6. Yeah, more guns definitely makes everybody safer. It was a fender bender, and:

    1) One guy will probably go to jail, or at least he 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 nuthin’ that don’t need killin’.”

    • Cars kill more people than guns. Why aren’t you pushing for car control? Is it because when people are killed with a gun it’s worse than being hit by a car? Are they ‘deader’ because of it?

      • Because we have a lot of car controls already, and auto deaths and injuries have fallen significantly over the past decades as a result. Not so for guns.

        Controls include:

        – Car registration and ownership tracking
        – Operator training and licensing
        – Endless safety studies and engineering improvements to make them safer
        – Endless safety studies and engineering to make roads safer
        – Accident investigation and feedback
        – Operator insurance
        – Public education programs
        – And I could go on and on.

        Your argument really isn’t even worth responding to – it’s so weak and uninformed.

        • All those ‘controls’ and still cars kill more people than guns. Kind blows that ‘more laws needed’ argument out of the water.

          • So, according to you, dog, controls equals safety.

            Cars are heavily controlled, as you stated above. Registered, licensed, inspected, etc. Compare those controls to firearm laws. In most states, proof of legal age and proof of no felony on record and you can own a firearm.

            Now. Which kills more people each year, cars or guns? Oh yeah, those heavily control cars. If laws don’t stop us from killing each other with cars what makes you think another gun control measure will stop someone from killing another with a gun?

  7. Self defense ended when the other person tried to leave…no active threat.

    Self defense for the other guy probably began after he was chased down and then approached by a guy with a gun.

    If you’re going to carry a firearm you really should keep it loaded or, at least, with the clip right at hand.

  8. The real travesty here is that when Mr. Morehouse hit Mr. Christianson‘s car, he should’ve stopped instead of hit-and-run however, Mr. Christenson had no business shooting at the car as it fled. That’s what got him convicted. It’s just a sad state of affairs when people get so full of road rage and they’re carrying a weapon, gives a bad name to those people who carry weapons for really good reasons.

  9. Moorhouse’s poor kid! Omg! What a horrible thing to do just because of some bent metal and plastic that can be replaced. Unreal.

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