Charges: Man who threw 5-year-old off Mall of America balcony was 'looking for someone to kill'

The man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy off the third floor balcony at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota Friday told police he had come to the mall that day looking for someone kill. 

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis was charged Monday with first-degree attempted premeditated murder. 

According to the charges, the victim’s mother said she and her son were with a friend and a friend’s child outside the Rain Forest Café on the third floor of the mall around 10:15 a.m. when Aranda, whom they did not know, approached them. 

Aranda came very close to them, so the victim’s mother asked if they were in the way and should move. Aranda then picked up her son, threw him off the balcony and fled the scene. 

Police estimate the child fell approximately 39 feet and landed in front of multiple people. Officers rendered aid to the boy and he was taken to Children’s Hospital. Medical personnel said he had multiple fractured bones in his arms and legs, was bleeding from the head and had massive head trauma. 

A witness tried to keep Aranda from leaving the scene, but he pushed them away and continued running. Officers located him waiting for the light rail train and arrested him. 

After his arrest, Aranda agreed to speak with officers and admitted he was the one who had thrown the boy off the balcony. He said he come to the mall on Thursday planning to kill an adult because they usually stand near the balcony, but it did not “work out.” He returned to the mall on Friday and chose the 5-year-old boy instead. 

Aranda said he had been coming to the mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the mall, but had been rejected. He said that rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive. 

Surveillance video from the mall showed Aranda walking on the third floor and looking over the balcony several times before approaching the victim and his mother. 

“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." 

The 5-year-old boy remains in critical condition, according to the criminal complaint. A GoFundMe page set up for the boy said he is stable condition and had a peaceful sleep Sunday. The GoFundMe already raised more than $600,000 for the child, surpassing the stated goal of $500,000. 

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office released the following statement on behalf of the victim's family, "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."

Statement from Mall of America

"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."