Tacoma strip mall stabbing suspect pleads not guilty

A 43-year-old man pleaded not guilty to stabbing a homeless person Tuesday night in the parking lot of a strip mall in Tacoma.

Police say Ernesto Castro Jr. of Renton attacked the 38-year-old victim in a dispute over money. According to Tacoma police, the victim owed Castro money and wouldn’t or couldn’t pay it back.

Pierce County prosecutors charged Castro with first-degree assault Friday for his alleged role in the stabbing, which took place at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday outside a store at 3320 South 23rd St.

Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209, @melissasantos1