Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda is behind bars after police say the 24-year-old grabbed a 5-year-old boy at the Mall of America and threw him from the third floor, an unprompted and seemingly random attack that has police puzzled.
The attack took place on Friday at the Minneapolis mall, leaving the young boy with serious and life-threatening injuries, the Daily Mail reported. Police said the man was not related to the boy in any way, and it appeared to be a random and unprompted attack.
Witnesses said a woman began screaming after the boy was thrown over the railing, saying it was her son who was thrown from the railing.
“She was screaming ‘Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge,'” witness Brian Johnson told WCCO.
Other witnesses described it as a horrific scene, with the boy suffering significant injuries. Police said the boy was seen laying in a pool of blood at the bottom, suffering significant injuries. He was taken to a nearby hospital.
The suspect tried to flee after the attack, but was chased down and taken into custody. Police did not say if there was a motive for the attack, but did say it appeared to be an isolated incident.
As the WCCO report noted, Aranda had been banned from the Mall of America after two incidents in 2015, including causing damage inside stores and throwing items off a balcony at a lower level. In October of that year, he was arrested for allegedly throwing water at a woman who refused to buy him food.
A 5-year-old is being treated for "significant injuries" after witnesses say the child was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America. A 24-year-old man is in custody. https://t.co/b3mj5TddEa pic.twitter.com/gK3uvZg07j— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 12, 2019
The attack drew some national attention, with many news outlets picking up on the story and sharing updates about the young boy. Images showed first responders surrounding the boy at the base of an escalator.
Police had not yet released the name of the boy or updated his condition at press time on Friday evening.
The Mall of America released a statement decrying the attack.
“This was a senseless act and words cannot truly express our profound shock and sadness,” the Mall of America said in a statement on Friday. “Our immediate and only concern is for the wellbeing of the family and the child, as well as for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident.”
Emmanual Deshawn Aranda has been charged with attempted homicide for the alleged attack on the 5-year-old boy at the Mall of America.