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Man arrested in stabbing last week at Hilltop grocery store

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on May 25, 2012 at 9:53 am |
May 25, 2012 9:53 am

Tacoma police have arrested a 34-year-old man suspected of stabbing and critically injuring another man last week at a Hilltop grocery store.

The 31-year-old victim suffered a lacerated bicep, punctured lung and damage to his spleen during the May 16 incident.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Steffan Dupree Gale with first-degree assault. He was ordered held in Pierce County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail during his afternoon court appearance.

Tacoma police and charging documents provided the following information.

The stabbing occurred shortly after 11 p.m. May 16 at Safeway, 1112 S. M St.

The victim and suspect had been in the store when they got into an altercation. The victim was stabbed in the chest. The suspect left.

Surveillance video showed part of the altercation between the two men.

Gale was arrested Wednesday on a state Department of Corrections escape warrant. He wore the same baseball hat, zip-up jacket and slipper-type shoes as the suspect in the surveillance video.

He told Tacoma police he’d meet up with the victim to buy methamphetamine from him.

Gale claimed the victim wouldn’t sell him the drugs unless Gale took him to a house. Gale refused and said he went into the store to buy groceries.

Gale told investigators he overheard the victim talking on a cellphone in the store, making a reference to him. He said he pulled out a knife and then the victim hit him.

Gale said he didn’t remember stabbing the victim.

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