Child attack suspect had previous Mall of America arrests
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday after being pushed or thrown from a balcony at the Mall of America, according to witnesses, and a 24-year-old man with a history of causing disturbances at the mall was in custody.
Bloomington Police Chief Jeffrey Potts said police don’t think there is any relationship between the man and the family of the child, who suffered life-threatening injuries. He was being treated at a hospital, but no details on his condition were immediately available.
Witnesses told police that the child may have been pushed or thrown from the mall’s third level to the first floor, Potts said. He said the suspect immediately took off running but was quickly found and arrested at the mall.
A witness said a woman screamed that her child was thrown from the balcony.
Brian Johnson told WCCO-TV the woman was screaming, “Everybody pray, everybody pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge.”
Police said Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, of Minneapolis, was being held on suspicion of attempted homicide.
Aranda’s criminal record includes two convictions in 2015 for obstruction of the legal process/interfering with a peace officer, as well as convictions for fifth-degree assault, trespassing and damage to property.
Court records show Aranda was arrested on July 4, 2015, after police said he matched the description of a man throwing things off the upper level of the Mall of America to the lower level. Police say Aranda refused to give his name and resisted arrest. Aranda also was accused of walking into a mall store and sweeping his hand across a display table, breaking glasses.
In October 2015, Aranda was accused of throwing glasses in Twin Cities Grill in the mall. The complaint says Aranda approached a woman who was waiting for the restaurant to open and asked her to buy him something. The woman refused, and Aranda allegedly threw a glass of water in her face and a glass of tea that struck her leg. Aranda was under a trespass notice at the time banning him from the mall until July 4, 2016.
Police don’t have an idea about possible motive, Potts said.
“At this point we believe this is an isolated incident,” the chief said. “We’re actively trying to figure out why this occurred.”
No details were immediately available about the child’s condition.
The 4.2-million-square-foot Mall of America is in Bloomington, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis. The mall, which opened in 1992, has more than 520 stores and is visited by 40 million visitors annually, according to its website . Attractions include Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park and Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium .
It has occasionally been the scene of crimes or disruptive protests, and the mall’s website touts extensive security training for its officers.
In 2015, the al-Shabab extremist group called for an attack on the Mall of America and other shopping centers in a video. Al-Shabab fighters attacked an upscale Kenyan mall in 2013 in a siege that left 67 people dead. In response, the Mall of America said it was tightening security, and that some of the extra precautions would be noticeable to guests and others would not be.
A Minneapolis man was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year for attacking two brothers at the Macy’s department store at the mall. The man said he was inspired by the Islamic State when he stabbed the brothers in a dressing room area in November 2017.
A teenage brawl erupted at the mall the day after Christmas in 2011. The melee was caught on YouTube, but police concluded the brawl — the worst case of violence at the mall in more than 15 years — was not organized through social media as initially feared. Ten people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including four juveniles.
Suspect in Mall of America attack that hurt 5-year-old was twice ordered to stay away from mall
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 problems 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.
The boy was taken by ambulance from the mall to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. No further information on his condition was available Friday.
Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said 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 elsewhere.
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 attack, there was an active warrant for 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, sending 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 were called to the mall at 10:17 a.m. on a report of a child falling over a railing, but witnesses said 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 light-rail service to the mall was suspended for about 45 minutes as police responded.
In the past six months, Aranda was charged a half-dozen times with riding public transit without paying, court records show.
In August 2015, he was arrested for smashing computers at the Sumner Library in north Minneapolis.
“He said he has some anger issues and told the officer that it does not happen all the time,” the police statement said.
A month later, in September, Aranda was back at the Sumner Library, harassing a female library employee. According to a police statement, the woman called police from her car in the library parking lot because Aranda had been bothering her, trying to ask for a date.
According to the statement, Aranda admitted he was stalking the woman and knew where she lived. He also admitted that he knew he was breaking an order to stay away from the library for a year.
Aranda’s case was assigned to Criminal Mental Health Court. He was discharged from custody six months later and placed on probation.
Aranda also has a felony conviction for first-degree damage to property.
In his most recent court cases, Aranda gave his address as a Minneapolis shelter home for those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. In other court cases, he gave his address as the Salvation Army Harbor Light service center in Minneapolis.
Police check security cams
Small portions of the mall’s southeast court on the first and third floors remained cordoned off Friday afternoon as lab technicians processed the scene.
Businesses in the area of the incident were closed as police collected evidence. Potts said police are looking at security video from inside the mall to gather more information.
The mall, which opened in 1992, has been the site of occasional crimes. In 2012, dozens of young people were involved in a melee that led to heightened security. In November 2017, two men were wounded when they were stabbed by a 20-year-old man who claimed he did it on behalf of ISIS.
Staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.
Man charged with attempted murder after child falls from balcony
A US man has been arrested after a five-year-old sustained life-threatening injuries from being pushed or thrown off a balcony at a shopping centre.
The boy tumbled two storeys from the balcony at Minnesota’s Mall of America.
The suspect, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, has been charged with attempted murder.
Local police chief Jeff Potts said the suspect was from the area, but was not known to the victim or his family.
He stressed he believed the incident was “isolated” and said there was no wider threat to the public.
Police say they initially responded to a report at 10:17 local time (15:17 GMT) on Friday that a child had fallen down from a balcony at the shopping centre in the city of Bloomington.
However, witnesses at the scene described the child being thrown or pushed by a man.
Mr Aranda fled but was arrested by officers elsewhere at the shopping centre’s metro and bus transit station.
Police say the boy was given first aid at the scene and was then transported to a local hospital.
No further information has been released about the child’s condition or identity.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda has been recognized because the 24-year-old man who allegedly threw or pushed a five-year-old from the third ground of the Mall of America. Aranda has since been charged with tried murder for the incident.
Per The Star Tribune, Aranda was arrested within the mall transit station after he fled the scene.