NASCAR driver Bobby East dies at 37 after stabbing attack at California gas station; suspect shot dead by police

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NASCAR driver and three-time USAC champion Bobby East has died at age 37 after being stabbed by a man at a Southern California gas station.

The man suspected of fatally stabbed him was shot dead in an officer involved shooting Friday while the West County SWAT Team attempted to arrest him, the Westminster Police Department confirmed Saturday.

The United States Auto Club called the racer “one of the most prolific drivers of his era.”

Police responded to a stabbing at a 76 gas station in Westminster, located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Westminster Police Department.

“The victim was found on the ground suffering from a serious stab wound to the chest area,” authorities said in a statement.

Police attempted life-saving measures before he was transported to a trauma center, where he later died.

East is a three-time champion on the US Auto Club circuit.

The Torrance, Calif., native, who was the son of USAC Hall of Fame car builder Bob East, also won the USAC Silver Crown championships in 2012 and 2013.

Two-time NASCAR Champion Todd Bodine paid tribute to his fellow racer on social media.

“Very sad to hear of the tragic incident involving Legend USAC driver Bobby East,” he tweeted Saturday morning. “He was one heck of a wheelman. Thoughts and prayers to his family.”

A 27-year-old man named Trent William Millsap, described by police as “transient and known to frequent Westminster, Garden Grove, and Anaheim motels,” fled the area prior to police arrival.

On Friday, Westminster detectives received a tip that the suspect was in hiding in an apartment in Anaheim.

The West County SWAT team responded to serve an arrest warrant for the suspect. As they tried to do so, an officer-involved shooting took place, police said.

Millsap was shot and killed by at least one officer and taken to the UCI Medical Center, where he died.

Millsap was on parole for armed robbery and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for an unrelated parole violation, according to the Westminster Police Department.

Westminster Police, as well as the Orange County District Attorney’s and the Department of Justice, are investigating the shooting. Police are still investigating the stabbing, for which the motive is unknown.

No officers were injured in the shooting but a police dog was hit by a bullet. The animal’s wound is not life-threatening.