Former NASCAR driver Bobby East fatally stabbed at CA gas station; suspect killed: police

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Sunday, July 17, 2022
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Police are searching for a 27-year-old man suspected of stabbing and killing another man at a gas station in Westminster Wednesday evening.

A star NASCAR driver has been stabbed to death and the man suspected of killing him has been shot dead in a confrontation with police.

Police say 37-year-old Bobby East was fatally stabbed at a gas station in Southern California on Wednesday.

California police responded to a gas station around 5:50 p.m. in reference to a stabbing. When they arrived, they found the victim with a stab wound to the chest, police said.

During the investigation, the victim was identified as Robert John East. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died of his injuries, officials said.

Police identified 27-year-old Trent William Millsap as the suspect. They tracked him to an apartment in Anaheim, California Friday, where he was killed in a standoff with police.

"During the service of the warrant, the West County SWAT Team encountered Milsap. He became confrontational with officers and a police K-9 was deployed. Subsequently, an officer-involved shooting occurred," Westminster Police Department said.

A police K-9 also sustained non-life threatening gunshot wound during the confrontation and was transported to a veterinary hospital for treatment and later released.

"At the time of the officer-involved shooting, Milsap was on parole for armed robbery and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for an unrelated parole violation," police added.

The Westminster Police Department is investigating the officer-involved shooting. The Orange County District Attorney's office, along with the Department of Justice, will also be investigating the shooting, officials said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out a motive for the stabbing.

East was a three-time USAC national champion driver.

East, whose father was a noted short-track car builder, won SAC Silver Crown championships in 2004, 2012 and 2013. He was just 16 in 2001 when he became the youngest driver to win a feature USAC National Midget race. He won 15 USAC races in 2004 and soon dabbled in a short NASCAR career. He made 11 career starts in what is now NASCAR's Xfinity Series and had two top-10 finishes in 31 career Truck Series races.

"Very sad to hear of the tragic incident involving Legend USAC driver Bobby East. He was one heck of a wheelman," tweeted former Truck Series champion Todd Bodine.

"NASCAR is saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bobby East. We extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Bobby, a true racer," NASCAR said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.