Suspect in Mall of America attack appears in court as boy begins 'long journey to recovery'

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Emmanuel Aranda, who is suspected of throwing a five-year-old boy from the third level at the Mall of America, had his first court appearanace on Tuesday, April 16. Sketch Courtesy: Cedric Hohnstadt

The man accused of throwing a boy over a railing at the Mall of America appeared in court Tuesday as the boy remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

Appearing in court wearing an orange jumpsuit, 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda is officially charged with first-degree attempted premeditated murder for allegedly throwing the 5-year-old boy off of a third floor balcony at the Mall of America Friday morning. 

Without entering a plea, his court appearance was brief. When the judge asked if he had any questions, Aranda said no.

The arraignment revealed that, at the time of the incident, the suspect was living in a homeless shelter. He also has a history of mental illness.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of support from across the country, reassuring them of the goodness in humanity, the overall goodness of humanity and God’s will,” said Stephen Tillitt, attorney for the boy’s family. “The child is currently in critical condition, but with the grace of God and excellent support in care, he’s beginning a long journey to recovery.”

After suffering multiple bone fractures and massive head trauma, the child has attracted a large group of supporters hoping he makes speedy recovery. In fact, the GoFundMe page for the boy has raised more than $700,000 in just a few days.