A Twin Cities man accused of throwing a child over a third-floor railing at the Mall of America has a history of mental health issues and had twice been ordered to stay away from the mall, court records show.
In a previous criminal case, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda told police that “he has some anger issues” after being arrested for smashing computers at a Minneapolis public library.
Aranda, 24, is being held by Bloomington police on suspicion of attempted homicide after he threw or pushed a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony at the mall Friday morning, police said.
Aranda was arrested in the mall transit station after fleeing the scene of the child’s fall.
The boy was taken by ambulance from the mall to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. No further information on his condition was available Friday.
Aranda has a long string of arrests and convictions for misdemeanor criminal offenses in recent years, court records show. At the time of Friday’s incident, there was an active warrant from his arrest stemming from a 2017 assault case in Hennepin County.
In 2015, Aranda was issued a trespass notice ordering him to stay away from the Mall of America. He ignored the order and in October of that year was arrested after harassing and panhandling two women diners at a restaurant and throwing drinking glasses at diners, according to a criminal complaint.
He was convicted of fifth-degree assault, trespass and interfering with a police officer. Aranda was sentenced to 30 days in the Hennepin County workhouse and ordered to get a mental health evaluation. He was also ordered a second time to stay away from the Mall of America.
Aranda was at the mall Friday, police said, when he threw or pushed the boy over the railing, dropping the child some 30 feet or more onto a stone floor two levels below.
Tina Hailey of Burnsville was walking with her husband and had just rounded the corner on the mall’s first floor near Macy’s when she heard screams.
“Oh, my God! Pray for my son!” she heard the boy’s mother yell.
The mother screamed uncontrollably and appeared to be in shock, Hailey said.
“She didn’t know what to do. Nobody was helping her,” Hailey added.
Hailey, who has a 4-year-old grandson, said the screams and the sight of those working to revive the boy will haunt her.
“I won’t forget it. It was horrific,” she said. “I hope he survived.”
Police don’t know why the child was launched over the railing, Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said, adding that there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the victim, his family and Aranda. Potts said he didn’t know whether the victim’s family is from Minnesota or visiting from elsewhere.
Police were called to the mall at 10:17 a.m. on a report of a child falling over a railing, but witnesses indicated the child had been “pushed or thrown,” Potts said.
The child fell to the first floor, where several witnesses and passersby tried to perform CPR on him, Potts said. Initial accounts over emergency audio indicated that the child wasn’t breathing.
Blue Line train service to the mall was suspended for about 45 minutes as police responded to the incident.
SOURCE: John Reinan and Tim Harlow
Minneapolis Star Tribune