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Police: Mall of America suspect told police he went there intending to kill someone

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The Minneapolis man arrested for throwing a 5-year-old boy over a Mall of America balcony Friday 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.

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, was charged Monday, April 15, with attempted premeditated first-degree murder, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. He is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday. Prosecutors will be seeking bail of $2 million.

“This crime has shocked the community,” 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.”

The family of the boy, whom the Bloomington police have not named, also released a statement Monday thanking the community for its support.

“The child is currently in critical condition and the family is beginning a long journey to recovery,” the statement read.

RELATED: Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony fighting for his life

They asked for privacy and declined to be interviewed. All condition updates will be provided by the Bloomington Police Department.

According to the criminal complaint, about 10:15 a.m. Friday, the boy and his mother were with a friend and her child outside the Rain Forest Café on the mall’s third floor.

A review of video surveillance at the mall showed Aranda walking in the mall on the third floor and looking over the balcony several times before approaching the boy and his mother.

The mother saw Aranda, whom she had never seen before, come close to them and she asked if they were in the way and should move.

Instead, Aranda picked up the boy and threw him over the railing, the complaint states.

The child landed on the first floor near several witnesses described in the complaint as “distraught.” First responders indicated the boy had multiple fractured bones, including his arms and legs and was bleeding from the head and had massive head trauma.

A GoFundMe page set up by a family friend identifies the boy as “Landen.” The fund raised $579,947 in two days for the boy’s medical expenses.

Aranda fled the scene. Another witness on the third floor 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. Police coordinated with mall security who monitored his flight via surveillance cameras.

When police confronted him, he was calm and did not question why he was being placed under arrest.

He told police he knew what he was planning to do was wrong. He said he had formed a plan to kill someone at the mall Thursday. He had planned to kill an adult, because “they usually stand near the balcony,” the complaint said.

Aranda said he’d been coming to the mall for years, had tried to speak to women there and they had rejected him. He said that rejection made him lash out and act aggressively.

In 2015 Aranda had been temporarily banned from the mall for throwing water in a woman’s face and destroying property. He was arrested in October of 2015 and convicted with obstructing legal process, fifth degree assault and trespassing.

He has a warrant for his arrest from Illinois for assault and a conviction for first degree property damage from Hennepin County.

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.

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