Former NASCAR driver Bobby East was stabbed to death at a Southern California gas station, authorities said Saturday. The suspect was later shot dead by police.
On Wednesday evening, just before 6pm local time, East, 37, was found with a stab wound to the chest at a gas station in the Orange County town of Westminster, the Westminster Police Department said in a statement. He was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he died, police said.
The stabbing suspect has been identified as 27-year-old Trent William Millsap, police said. At the time of the stabbing, Millsap was also wanted on an unrelated parole warrant and was on parole for armed robbery. The motive for the stabbing is still unclear.
Investigators later learned Millsap may be at an apartment in the nearby city of Anaheim, according to police. During a SWAT search of the apartment Friday, Millsap “became confrontational,” prompting officers to first deploy a K-9 and then open fire on him, police said. Police did not say whether Millsap was armed.
Millsap was injured and taken to a hospital, where he died. The K-9 was struck by a bullet, but survived, police said.
United States Auto Club Confirmed Death of the East on its website Saturday called him “one of the most prolific drivers of his era.” He was a three-time USAC National Champion.
A popular short track car builder, East also won the SAC Silver Crown championships in 2004, 2012 and 2013.
He was just 16 years old in 2001 when he became the youngest driver to win a USAC National Midget race. He won 15 USAC races in 2004 and embarked on a NASCAR career shortly thereafter. He now has 11 career starts in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and two top-10 finishes in 31 career Truck Series races.