Man accused of throwing 5-year-old off mall balcony went there to kill an adult, ‘lashed out’ after being denied trying to pick up women, complaint says

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Minnesota — The man arrested at the Mall of America was charged with attempted murder for throwing a 5-year-old over the third-floor railing at the shopping mall, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, was charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder. He is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and prosecutors will be seeking bail of $2 million.

“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.”

Members of the Bloomington Police Department also has been in contact with the family, who asked for the following 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.”

According to the criminal complaint, about 10:15 a.m. Friday, the victim and his mother were outside the Rain Forest Café on the mall’s third floor. The mother saw Aranda, whom she had never seen before, come close to them and she asked if they should move.

Instead, Aranda picked up the boy and threw him over the railing, the complaint states. He then ran but another witness tried to stop him. Aranda pushed the witness against a wall and kept running until police were able to capture him on the light-rail train outside the mall.

Aranda told police he had come to the mall on Thursday intending to kill an adult, but that it did not “work out,” according to the complaint. He returned Friday and chose the boy instead. He told police he knew what he was planning to do was wrong. Aranda said he had been coming to the mall for years, tried to speak to women there and they rejected him. That made him lash out and act aggressively.

Prosecutors intend to pursue a longer sentence based on the aggravating factors of particular cruelty, the vulnerability of the boy and committing the violent act in front of other children and the boy’s mother.

READ THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT HERE

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