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Champion driver Bobby East stabbed to death at gas station

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — Three-time U.S. Auto Club national champion Bobby East died after being stabbed this week at a Southern California gas station. He was 37 years old.

The Westminster Police Department released a statement on Saturday identifying Robert John East of San Dimas as the person stabbed in the chest at a 76 gas station on Wednesday. The statement said the suspect, Trent William Millsap, was fatally shot in Anaheim on Friday as officers attempted to arrest him.

Police said they had no motive for the stabbings and the investigation into both deaths was ongoing.

They said they arrived at the gas station shortly before 6 p.m. to find East suffering from a stab wound. He was taken to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he died.

East, whose father was a famous short-track car builder, won the USAC National Midgets title in 2004 and the Silver Crown championships in 2012 and 2013. He has 56 USAC-sanctioned victories, including 48 in national divisions.

He was just 16 in 2001 when he became the youngest driver to win a USAC National Midget race. He won 15 USAC races in 2004 and quickly embarked on 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.

“NASCAR is saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bobby East,” NASCAR said in a statement. “We send our deepest and sincere condolences to the family and friends of Bobby, a true runner.”

“Very sad to hear of the tragic incident involving Legend USAC driver Bobby East. He was one hell of a helmsman,” tweeted former Truck Series Champion Todd Bodine.

Westminster Police said Millsap, 27, was on parole for armed robbery and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for an unrelated parole violation.

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