Local Southern California news outlets are reporting the tragic death of former NASCAR driver Bobby East, who was reportedly stabbed outside a Westminster, CA gas station on Saturday evening. Police later killed the man alleged to have stabbed East.
Born in Torrance, East got his start in racing as a teenager, becoming the youngest driver to win a USAC National Midget event at just 16 years old in 2001. By 2004, he had earned the most USAC wins of any driver that season, with 15 victories. From there he moved into NASCAR’s Craftsman truck series where he raced for teams like Roush and Wood Bros. He made his Busch Series debut in late 2005. He continued racing until 2008.
Around 6 p.m on Saturday, local police were called to a Westminster, California gas station. Authorities found East lying on the ground with a stab wound to the chest. He was rushed to UCI Medical Center where he died a short time later.
Authorities identified the man who stabbed East as 27-year-old Trent William Millsap, who reportedly fled before officers arrived at the gas station where the stabbing took place. An arrest warrant was put out on Milsap, who was tracked to an Anaheim apartment.
A SWAT team attempted to take Millsap into custody. But according to a statement made by authorities, Milsap “became confrontational with officers, and a police K-9 was deployed.” A shootout occurred and Milsap was shot. He was taken to a local hospital where he later died.
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Milsap’s motive for stabbing East is unknown, and police have not provided any further detail about the event that ended in Milsap’s death. Police point out that Milsap was on parole after a previous armed robbery.
The USAC and NASCAR mourned East’s death. NASCAR issued a statement saying “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.”