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who ran for Senate Seat F, Wasilla, was still on the 2020 ballot as a petition Libertarian candidate, although he had withdrawn from the race, which was won decisively by Sen.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