Suspect accused of throwing child from MOA balcony charged with attempted murder

April 15, 2019 10:41 PM

The suspect in an incident in which authorities say a 5-year-old boy was thrown over the railing of a third-story balcony at the Mall of America Friday had allegedly come to the mall with the intent of killing someone the day before, according to the criminal complaint in the matter filed Monday.

Court records show 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda has been charged with first-degree premeditated attempt to commit murder in Hennepin County.


RELATED: Child pushed in MOA incident suffered multiple fractures, remains hospitalized; suspect held for attempted murder

He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. Bail was set at $2 million with conditions.

The child remained in critical condition Sunday, according to the Bloomington Police Department.

According to the complaint, Aranda told authorities he "had formed a plan to kill someone at the Mall" the day before, and had come to the mall with the intent of carrying that plan out, but it did not "work out." He allegedly said he "planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the victim instead."

RELATED: Police ID man suspected of throwing or pushing 5-year-old from third floor at MOA

"This crime has shocked the community," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. "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."

Bloomington police were called to MOA Friday morning on a report of a child being thrown from a third-floor balcony.

After arriving on the scene, officers found the child on the first floor with "obvious and severe injuries." The complaint states medical personnel indicated he had multiple fractured bones and severe head trauma.

The child is thought to have fallen around 39 feet.

RELATED: Child attack suspect had previous Mall of America arrests

The child's mother reportedly told authorities that she and her son had been with a friend and her child on the mall's third floor outside the Rain Forest Cafe when a male she had never seen before approached them.

That man - later identified as Aranda - is alleged to have come so close to them that the child's mother asked if they were in his way and should move. Then, she said, the man grabbed her child without warning and threw him off the balcony in front of herself and several other witnesses, including children.

The complaint states that Aranda then took off running, pushing an individual who had attempted to stop him from leaving the scene against a wall.

He was located on a light rail train at the mall, waiting for it to depart, according to the complaint.

The complaint goes on to allege that several witnesses identified Aranda as the man who had thrown the child. He reportedly agreed to speak to officers. And the complaint alleges he acknowledged throwing the child from the balcony and fleeing.

He allegedly claimed he had made efforts to "talk to women in the Mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive."

The complaint notes Aranda has "previously been trespassed from the Mall" for throwing water in a woman's face, and for destroying property. And that there is warrant for his arrest from Illinois for assault.

According to the complaint, surveillance footage from the mall allegedly shows Aranda walking on the third floor and looking over the balcony several times before approaching the child and his mother.

Family members have told KSTP that Aranda has had a history of mental illness, including violent tendencies since childhood, even with his own family members.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe account has been set up for the victim's family.

Bloomington police said they have been in contact with the family, who asked for the following statement to be released:

"The family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support from the community. 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."

Mall of America released the following statement Monday afternoon:

"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."

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