MINNEAPOLIS – The man charged with throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America told police he was angry after being rejected by women at the mall and was “looking for someone to kill.”
24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in Friday’s attack.
The child plunged almost 40 feet and is fighting for his life with head trauma and multiple broken bones.
Aranda has two prior convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including an incident where he threw a glass of water and tea at a woman who refused to buy him something.
At one point Aranda was banned from the Mall of America.
The boy’s mother told police that Aranda came up very close to her group as they stood outside the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. She said she asked him if they were in his way and should move, and he picked up the child without warning and threw him off the balcony, according to the complaint.
Police caught Aranda waiting for a light rail train at the mall to leave. They said he admitted to throwing the child off the balcony and said he had come to the mall a day earlier looking to kill someone but it did not “work out.”
Aranda originally planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead, the complaint said.
“Defendant indicated 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, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive,” the complaint said.
Born in Chicago, Aranda was arrested in 2014 after beating a restaurant employee with a telephone when she threatened to call the cops about his bill and pulled a knife on a bystander who intervened. Aranda ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the child, named Landen, that has over $600,000 in donations as of Monday.
The page’s creator, Noah Hanneman, posted Sunday that Landen had a “peaceful sleep and is still fighting his courageous battle.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)