Man who threw 5-year-old from Mall of America balcony was 'looking to kill': Police

A Minneapolis man was looking for a random adult to kill over the weekend before he threw a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America, authorities revealed Monday.

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, grabbed the child and tossed him down nearly 40 feet on Friday, leaving the boy with life-threatening injuries, including multiple broken bones and severe head trauma, according to charging documents.

Aranda ran away from the scene, but police apprehended him at a nearby light rail station in Bloomington, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis. Officers said he appeared “calm” as he was arrested and never questioned why he was taken into custody.

Aranda told investigators he was “looking for someone to kill, but it did not ‘work out,'” according to a probable cause document released Monday. He said he came up with a plan to “kill someone at the mall” on Thursday and indicated that was angry because women at the mall had rejected him.

“He said he planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the victim instead,” the document said. “[He] 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.”

Investigators said he repeatedly acknowledged he’d come with intentions to kill and signaled that he was “aware that what he was doing was wrong,” according to the charging documents.

Aranda was previously banned from the mall for throwing water in a woman’s face and destroying property. Police said also he had a warrant for an arrest in Illinois on assault charges.


Police said surveillance video from the scene showed Aranda entering the third floor of the mall and looking over the balcony several times before he approached the 5-year-old victim and his mother.

The victim’s mother said she noticed the suspect getting “very close to them” and asked if she and her son should move, the documents said. Aranda remained silent as he lifted the boy up over the balcony, “without warning,” and threw him down to the first floor, according to the charging documents.

Family members said the child was fighting for his life as of Monday evening.

“His condition has very little change at this point, but we are hoping to get some good news back from some upcoming tests in the next few days,” the family wrote in a post on GoFundme Monday night. “The family is continuing to request privacy during this time.”

A GoFundMe campaign to assist with the boy’s medical and rehabilitation costs had raised more than $659,000 as of early Tuesday, surpassing a $500,000 goal.

Aranda was being held on felony charges of premeditated murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. It’s unclear whether Aranda has obtained an attorney.

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