CBS News reports that an apparently mentally ill man is being held on an attempted homicide charge after allegedly tossing a 5-year-old over a third-story balcony at Mall of America in Minnesota.
At 10:17 a.m. Friday, police responded to frantic calls from shoppers who witnessed a man either push or throw the child over the balcony before fleeing the scene. Paramedics quickly began CPR as the child’s mother pleaded for help.
“She was screaming for everyone, please pray, please pray, please pray for my baby,” an eyewitness said to CBS.
Police later apprehended 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda inside the mall.
According to reporting by the Star Tribune, Aranda has a history of mental illness and several disturbing run-ins with the criminal system. These include a 2017 assault charge and a felony conviction for first-degree damage to property. Aranda was also previously ordered to stay away from the Mall of America in 2015 and arrested after ignoring that order. That same year, he was caught harassing two women at a restaurant and throwing drinking glasses at diners, according to a criminal complaint.
In addition, Aranda was arrested for breaking computers at a Minneapolis public library in 2015. He reportedly returned a month later and started bothering a woman who worked there; Aranda later admitted to police that he’d been stalking her and knew where she lived. His most recent court cases have been assigned to Criminal Mental Health Court, and he spent about six months in a correctional facility before being released on probation.
The unnamed child was not breathing after the fall, according to paramedic calls. He was hurried by ambulance to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. There seems to be no connection between Aranda and his victim, or the victim’s family. No further information on the child’s condition was available Friday.
Correction: Sept. 22, 2019, 3:46 p.m. ET: This story has been edited to remove unattributed text and to add fuller sourcing.