Wasilla man charged with murder in Williwaw shooting
A Wasilla man faces murder charges in a Tuesday shooting which left a man dead and a woman wounded.
Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday that Christopher Lorentsen, 31, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and first-degree assault in the death of 29-year-old Joshua Kelsey. Lorentsen also faces two counts of third-degree assault in the deadly encounter, which was reported as a shots-fired call just after 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“Investigation determined [Lorentsen] was initially involved in a verbal argument with Joshua Kelsey, at a residence in Wasilla when shots were fired striking Kelsey and an adult female,” troopers wrote in an online dispatch. “The female was transported to a local hospital where she is being treated for a gunshot wound to her leg.”
Kelsey was declared dead at the scene, and his next of kin have been notified. The wounded woman is expected to survive her injuries.
“[It’s] believed to be non-life-threatening at this time,” Peters said.
An affidavit against Lorentsen, filed by AST Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn, said the shooting occurred outside a recreational vehicle parked at a North Williwaw Way home. It was reported to 911 by a friend of Lorentsen’s, who identified him as the shooter.
Arriving troopers found Lorentsen at the scene near the alleged murder weapon, a 10mm Glock pistol.
The wounded woman told troopers she was inside the RV when “she heard a man yelling out in the driveway.”
“Kelsey, who was also in the RV at the time, exited and went out to confront [Lorentsen],” Wegrzyn wrote. “A few minutes later, [the woman] heard gunfire and was struck by a bullet in the leg.”
Another witness said he was inside the RV with the shooting victims when he heard an argument outside, which Wegrzyn said was later confirmed to be between Lorentsen and the 911 caller. Kelsey went outside when the witness mentioned the argument to him.
“[The witness] said that as Kelsey and the other male (Lorentsen) were arguing approximately three feet from each other[…]he saw (Lorentsen) retrieve a semi-automatic pistol from somewhere on his person and shoot Kelsey,” Wegrzyn wrote. “[The witness] said the first shot caused Kelsey to stumble backwards, and shortly after the first shot, he watched the shooter (Lorentsen) shoot Kelsey again as Kelsey was falling backwards.”
The witness, who was about 30 feet from the shooting, ran back into the RV.
“He said immediately after running into the RV he heard more gunfire and heard bullets striking the RV he was in,” Wegrzyn wrote. “He indicated that he was in fear of dying and thought that Lorentsen was trying to kill him because he witnessed Lorentsen shoot Kelsey.”
That fear was corroborated by a second witness, who said she didn’t see the shooting but was also inside the RV during the gunfire.
Wegrzyn said Kelsey, who was found unarmed after the shooting, was shot at least three times in the torso. Troopers found 10 spent 10mm shell casings near Kelsey’s body, as well as two “bullet defects” on a nearby mobile home and five on the RV. The impacts on the mobile home appeared to be from rounds “passing through or missing Kelsey.”
“Conversely, the angle of the bullet defects into the RV are consistent with Lorentsen changing his aiming point and firing at the RV in a separate attempt to injure or kill the occupants of the RV, or specifically [the shooting witness], whom he could’ve seen run into the RV during the murder of Kelsey,” Wegrzyn wrote.
Troopers attempted to question Lorentsen, but he declined to discuss the shooting.
“However, after being advised that he was being arrested, Lorentsen made the unsolicited and spontaneous statement (words to the effect) that he fired at the RV because he was afraid the occupants may come out and hurt him,” Wegrzyn wrote.
Lorentsen appeared in court an arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Palmer. His bail was set at $750,000 cash performance with electronic monitoring supervision.
Heather Hintze contributed information to this story.
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