BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — A 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America near Minneapolis remains hospitalized with serious injuries, authorities said Saturday.
Bloomington police Chief Jeffrey Potts said during a news conference that the boy fell nearly 40 feet after a man who apparently didn't know the boy or his family threw him off the balcony Friday. Authorities haven't released the boy's name and say his family has requested privacy.
Potts said he couldn't give an update on the boy's status, except to say that he's being cared for at the hospital and that his parents are with him. Hospital officials haven't responded to requests for a status update.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, was arrested at the mall's transit station after the attack and is jailed on a suspicion of attempted homicide charge. Potts credited bystanders and mall security for his quick capture.
"This is a horrific situation," Potts said.
Potts said investigators don't believe Aranda knew the boy's family and do not have a motive.
A witness, Brian Johnson, told WCCO-TV on Friday that he heard a woman scream that her child had been thrown from the balcony. He said she was screaming, "Everybody pray, everybody pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge."
Click here for the family's GoFundMe page.
Court records show that Aranda has a history of convictions for misdemeanor offense. He was charged in two previous incidents at the mall in 2015. Potts said some of those cases were handled through mental health court, but he didn't elaborate. At one point, Aranda had a trespass notice banning him from the mall, but it was no longer in effect, Potts said.
Jail records don't list an attorney for Aranda. Potts said he expects to submit the case to Hennepin County prosecutors for charges by noon on Monday.
The 4.2-million-square-foot Mall of America is in Bloomington, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis. It opened in 1992, has more than 520 stores and is visited by 40 million visitors annually, according to its website.
Suspect has a history with the mall
Aranda lives in the Bloomington area and has a series of arrests and convictions related to the mall.
He had been banned from Mall of America in the past, and was convicted of misdemeanors in two separate incidents there in 2015.
Months later, in October of that same year, he was accused of throwing glasses of ice water and tea at a woman in a restaurant at the mall after she refused to buy him food, the records show. In that incident, he got into a physical scuffle with the manager of the restaurant, sending panicked diners fleeing, court records show.
In an unrelated incident in August of the same year, witnesses saw Aranda smashing computers on the floor in the Minneapolis library, causing approximately $5,000 in damage, according to a 2015 complaint.
Police were called and arrested him without incident after finding him at a bus stop across the street.
In a recorded statement, he told authorities that he got "angry after he read something on the Facebook" and so he smashed five computers, screens and keyboards, court records show. "He said he has some anger issues and told the officer that it does not happen all the time," the complaint said.
Child's mother was screaming
A witness told WCCO that the child's mother was screaming that someone had thrown her child from the balcony.
"She was screaming, 'Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge,'" Brian Johnson told WCCO.
Mall of America said any additional information about the incident would come from police.
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