The man arrested for allegedly pushing or throwing a boy from the third floor of the Mall of America in Minnesota had been banned from the mall in the past and once told police he had anger issues, court records show.
Witnesses said Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, either pushed or threw the 5-year-old boy on Friday morning from the third level of the Bloomington mall’s interior to the first-level floor nearly 40 feet below, police said.
Aranda, whom police said took off running after the incident, was found inside the mall’s transit station and arrested.
Authorities described the boy’s injuries as life-threatening and said witnesses gave him first aid. Police Chief Jeff Potts said he couldn’t reveal details about the child’s condition Saturday afternoon.
“The child is still alive, he’s still receiving care, and I think we’re just asking for thoughts and prayers for that child to recover,” Potts told reporters outside his police department Saturday.
At this point, police do not believe there is a relationship between the family of the child and the suspect, Potts said.
Investigators are trying to figure out the motive, he said.
“(Through) our investigative work and witnesses that we’ve spoken to, we feel confident saying that the suspect threw the child off of the third floor. But as to why he did that, is still something we’re looking into and trying to figure out.”
Aranda is being held on suspicion of attempted homicide, and police expect to submit the case to prosecutors in support of charges by noon Monday, Potts said.
Suspect has a history with the mall
Aranda lives in the Bloomington area and has had a series of arrests and convictions related to the mall.
He had been banned from Mall of America in the past and was convicted of misdemeanors in two incidents there in 2015, court records show.
Aranda was charged in July 2015 with causing damage inside stores after he threw items off the upper level of the mall to the lower level, court records obtained by CNN affiliate WCCO show.
He was accused three months later of throwing glasses of ice water and tea at a woman in a restaurant at the mall after she refused to buy him food, the records show. In that incident, he got into a physical scuffle with the manager of the restaurant, sending panicked diners fleeing, according to court records that also note Aranda at that point had been banned from Mall of America property through early July 2016.
In August 2015, witnesses saw Aranda smashing computers on the floor of a Minneapolis library, causing about $5,000 in damage, according to a 2015 complaint. Police were called and arrested him without incident after finding him at a bus stop across the street.
Aranda in that case told authorities he got “angry after he read something on the Facebook” and so smashed five computers, screens and keyboards, court records show, citing a recorded statement. “He said he has some anger issues and told the officer that it does not happen all the time,” the complaint states.
Child’s mother was screaming
A witness Friday at the mall told WCCO that the child’s mother was screaming that someone had thrown her child from the balcony.
“She was screaming, ‘Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh, my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge,’” Brian Johnson told WCCO.
Mall of America officials said any more information about the incident will come from police.
CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.