MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 24-year-old Minneapolis man had planned to kill an adult the day before he threw a 5-year-old boy over a balcony at Mall Of America, critically injuring him, according to charges just filed in Hennepin County.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda faces one felony count of attempted premeditated first-degree murder in connection to the incident at MOA Friday.
According to the criminal complaint, Aranda went to the mall on Thursday with the intent to kill someone, but said it didn’t “work out.” He allegedly returned the next day, planning to kill an adult, but instead chose the boy. Charges say he threw the boy from the third-floor balcony outside the Rainforest Café.
The mother of the boy told authorities Aranda approached them and, without warning, picked the boy up and threw him over the side of the balcony. The complaint does not say why the boy was chosen by Aranda.
The boy fell about 39 feet and landed on the first floor in front of numerous people. The complaint says medical personnel responded and began treating the boy, who was bleeding from the head and had massive head trauma. He also suffered multiple fractured arm and leg bones.
“This crime has shocked the community,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “That a child, with his mother, at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone. Our victim advocates are working with the family during this very difficult time for them. We charged Mr. Aranda with the most severe crime that the evidence allowed.”
In an interview with police, Aranda said that he had come to the mall for the past few years to talk with women, but was rejected multiple times. He said the rejection made him aggressive. Surveillance video at the mall shows Aranda walking in the mall on the third floor, looking over the balcony several times, before approaching the victim and his mother.
Aranda had been banned from Mall of America in the past, and was charged and convicted of misdemeanors in two separate incidents at the mall in 2015. In July of that year, Aranda was charged with causing damage inside stores, throwing items off of a balcony to a lower level and resisting arrest. Aranda was then charged in October of that year for throwing a glass of water and a glass of tea at a woman inside of Twin City Grill after she refused to buy him food.
Aranda was also charged in August of 2015 with destroying computers in a north Minneapolis library. According to the criminal complaint, Aranda told officers that “he has some anger issues,” and that, “it does not happen all the time.”
Aranda is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and prosecutors will be seeking bail of $2 million. Prosecutors are intending to pursue a longer sentence based on the aggravating factors of particular cruelty, including the vulnerability of the boy and committing the violent act in front of the boy’s mother and other children.
“The family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support from the community,” Freeman said. “The child is currently in critical condition and the family is beginning a long journey to recovery. Please respect their great need and desire for privacy during that journey and do not attempt to contact them for additional information or interviews. All condition updates moving forward will be provided by the Bloomington Police Department.”
The boy was taken to Children’s Hospital and, according to the complaint, remains in critical condition.