Race car driver Bobby East was fatally stabbed at a Westminster gas station Wednesday, and police later killed the man suspected of attacking him, authorities said.
Around 6 pm, police officers were called to a 76 gas station and found East suffering from a stab wound to his chest. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. East was 37.
Police said the suspect, 27-year-old Trent William Millsap, fled before the officers arrived. Millsap was transient, authorities said, and was known to frequent Motels in Anaheim, Garden Grove and Westminster. Authorities did not say how they identified Milsap as the suspect.
Police tracked Millsap to an Anaheim apartment and received an arrest warrant, Westminster police said in a statement.
On Friday, a SWAT team attempted to take Millsap into custody. According to the statement, police shot Millsap after he “became confrontational with officers and a police K-9 was deployed.” Millsap, who was on parole for armed robbery, later died, the statement said.
The police did not release more information about the shooting.
On Friday, the United States Auto Club, which operates the racing series in which East competed, announced his death, recognizing the three-time USAC National Champion driver who participated in USAC silver crown and midget races.
East was born in Torrance and grew up in Indiana, his father, Bob East, said in an interview Saturday. A USAC Hall of Fame car builder, East’s father said the family relocated to Indiana where he worked in the racing business, and East became involved in racing.
East started racing when he was about 9 years old and had racked up several wins by the time he was a teenager, his father said.
“They just wanted to make a living at it,” Bob East said. “Not many people get to make a living doing what they love to do.”
In all, East claimed 56 career victories in USAC races, 48 of them in national divisions, the club said. In a write-up about East, the club named him “one of the most prolific drivers of his era.”
On social media, racing fans mourned his loss.
“Very sad to hear of the tragic incident involving Legend USAC driver Bobby East,” wrote Todd Bodine, a two-time NASCAR Champion and Fox Sports analyst. “He was one heck of a wheelman.”
“I have the best memories of working with Bobby East,” someone else wrote, sharing a photo of a smiling East online. “In an open wheel car, there was no one better.”