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A Minnesota man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America last week told police that he was “looking for someone to kill,” prosecutors alleged in a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, was charged Monday with first-degree attempted premeditated murder in the Friday morning incident. The boy, who fell almost 40 feet, remained in a Minneapolis hospital with head trauma and multiple broken bones.
According to court documents, the victim’s mother said she, a friend, her son, and a friend’s child were standing outside the Rainforest Cafe when Aranda came up very close to their group. The victim’s mother said she asked Aranda if they were in his way and should move. At that point, the suspect picked up the child without warning and threw him off the balcony.
Police caught Aranda on a light rail train at the mall waiting for it to leave. They said he admitted throwing the child from the balcony and said he had come to the mall a day earlier seeking to kill someone but it did not “work out.” Aranda originally said he planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead, the complaint said.
Aranda told officers that he had been coming to the mall for several years and made repeated attempts to talk to women, but had been rejected, investigators said. The complaint added that the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive.
Aranda has two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including one in which he threw a glass of water and glass of tea at a woman who refused to buy him something. Aranda at one point was banned from the mall.
Court records show that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after the earlier mall assaults.
A GoFundMe set up for the victim, identified only as Landen, had raised close to $600,000 as of Monday afternoon. An update posted Sunday by page creator Noah Hanneman Sunday said the boy had “a peaceful sleep and is still continuing to fight his courageous battle.”
Statement from Mall of America
“As the criminal case moves forward with today’s charges in the wake of Friday’s senseless incident, our thoughts and primary concerns remain with the victim and his family during this difficult time. We are grateful for the efforts of all the first responders involved – including guests and tenants – for their immediate actions and the outpouring of concern shown by so many for this young child and his family. For those who have left gifts, flowers and messages of love at the Mall, we thank you. Please know we will keep these items safe and handle them according to the family’s wishes.”