Man accused of throwing 5-year-old from balcony in Mall of America

Police said a 24-year-old man was in custody after a 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday. Witnesses said the boy was pushed or thrown from a balcony at the Mall of America.

One witness told CBS Minnesota a woman was screaming that someone threw her child from the third floor balcony. “She was screaming ‘Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge,'” Brian Johnson said. 

CBS Minnesota reported that emergency crews could be seen performing CPR and there was a large amount of blood on the floor. The child, who suffered “life-threatening injuries,” was taken to a local hospital. 

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Police said Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, of Minneapolis, was being held on suspicion of attempted homicide. It did not appear the suspect had any connection to the boy or his family. 

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda in police photo in Bloomington
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, charged with attempted homicide of a 5-year-old boy thrown or pushed from a third-floor balcony at Minnesota’s Mall of America, is seen in this photo released by police in Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S., on April 12, 2019. Courtesy City of Bloomington Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Bloomington Police Chief Jeffrey Potts said the suspect immediately took off running but was quickly found and arrested at the mall.  Police said they are unaware of a possible motive.  “At this point we believe this is an isolated incident,” Potts said. “We’re actively trying to figure out why this occurred.” 

Aranda’s criminal record includes two convictions in 2015 for obstruction of the legal process/interfering with a peace officer, as well as convictions for fifth-degree assault, trespassing and damage to property.

Court records show Aranda was arrested on July 4, 2015, after police said he matched the description of a man throwing things off the upper level of the Mall of America to the lower level. Police say Aranda refused to give his name and resisted arrest. Aranda also was accused of walking into a mall store and sweeping his hand across a display table, breaking glasses.

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CBS Minnesota

In October 2015, Aranda was accused of throwing glasses in Twin Cities Grill in the mall. The complaint says Aranda approached a woman who was waiting for the restaurant to open and asked her to buy him something. The woman refused, and Aranda allegedly threw a glass of water in her face and a glass of tea that struck her leg. Aranda was under a trespass notice at the time banning him from the mall until July 4, 2016.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Aranda had an attorney.

The 4.2-million-square-foot Mall of America is in Bloomington, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis.

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