Westminster, California — Nascar driver Bobby East was fatally stabbed at a California gas station Wednesday. The suspect, who had an outstanding parole warrant, was killed in a standoff with the police while being investigated Friday.
The 37-year-old, three-time USAC national champion was fuelling up his car at a 76 gas station in Westminster, Calif., around 6 p.m. Wednesday. He reportedly engaged in a war of words with a man who authorities identified as Trent William Millsap, 27, the Washington Post reported.
During the encounter, Millsap stabbed East in the chest, resulting in a serious stab wound. East was found on the ground. According to a statement by the Westminster Police Department (WPD), “Officers attempted life-saving measures until OCFA paramedics arrived and transported the victim to a local trauma center, where the victim succumbed to his injury.” The motive of the stabbing is still not known.
The suspect was described as a “transient and known to frequent Westminster, Garden Groce and Anaheim motels” in the statement by WPD.
Millsap was on an unrelated parole warrant and was on conditional release for armed robbery at the time of the stabbing.
Photographs of Millsap released by the authorities showed him covered with tattoos on his head, face, neck, chest, arms and hands.
Millsap was killed Friday during a confrontation with a SWAT team serving a search warrant that led to the officer-involved shooting, according to authorities. A police K-9 was hit by a single, non-life threatening bullet and was treated in a veterinary hospital. No other police personnel was seriously injured, the New York Post reported.
The police shooting is being investigated by the WPD along with the Department of Justice and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, as per a news release.
Charles Krall, communications manager for the Automobile Racing Club of America, extended his sympathies to East’s family, “In an open-wheel car, there was no one better. So sorry to hear the news today,” he tweeted. “My love and thoughts are with his parents Bob and Janice, and the entire East family. Race in peace Bobby.”
The death of the Nascar star has sparked a parallel conversation among Republicans about the lack of safety with Democrats in charge.
Many took to Twitter to call out LA County District Attorney George Gascon for being unable to prevent such crimes. “He was brutally and senselessly stabbed to death in LA by a career felon DA @GeorgeGascon and @GavinNewsom allowed to freely roam the streets and prey on innocents,” a tweet read.