MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at Mall of America Friday is receiving care at Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis, according to Bloomington police.
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, was arrested in the mall’s transit station after running away from the scene. Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts says at least one person tried to stop Aranda as he fled. He was transferred to Hennepin County Jail Friday night.
Potts says criminal charges will likely be filed against Aranda by mid-day on Monday. He is expected to be charged with attempted homicide. Aranda is cooperating with investigators.
“We think this is a very isolated event,” Potts said. “We think the mall is still a very safe place to go.”
Witnesses say they heard a woman scream that someone had thrown her son over the railing, which police estimate to be about a 40-foot fall. The incident left witnesses in disbelief.
“It’s jaw-dropping,” said witness Brian Johnson. “Just questioning what could possibly be the motive for something like this.”
According to court records, Aranda has a history of offenses.
Potts said Bloomington police have had three prior contacts with Aranda in 2015 — two of which were connected to incidents at Mall of America. A criminal complaint says in one case, he was suspected of “throwing things off the upper level of the mall to the lower level.” In another case, Aranda assaulted a woman inside Twin City Grill after she refused to buy him food. He was also charged with destroying five computers inside of a north Minneapolis library that same year.
In 2014, Aranda was charged with aggravated assault in Chicago. According to authorities, he struck a female restaurant employee with a telephone when she said she was going to call the police. A male customer tried to intervene, and Aranda allegedly hit him in the head with a dish plate. Just a day before at a different restaurant, police say Arranda allegedly threatened to slit a female manager’s throat.
The name of the Mall of America victim has not been released, and his family is asking for their privacy to be respected. Police say both the victim and Aranda live in the Twin Cities. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. According to the GoFundMe page, the boy’s condition is stable.