Man accused of tossing boy from Mall of America balcony faces judge

The Minnesota man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America was ordered held on $2 million bail following an initial court appearance Tuesday.

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, said little during the hearing in a courtroom at the Hennepin County jail. He gave his name and address when prompted by Judge Jeannice Reding and answered "not at all" when the judge asked if he had any questions.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the address given to the judge by Aranda matched the site of a Minneapolis shelter.

Emmanuel Aranda, left, appears before a judge at the Hennepin County jail Tuesday.

Emmanuel Aranda, left, appears before a judge at the Hennepin County jail Tuesday. (CEDRIC HOHNSTADT   )

Aranda is charged with first-degree attempted premeditated murder in the incident, which took place on Friday morning. The boy, identified only as Landen, remains in critical condition at a local hospital. A GoFundMe to help cover the family's medical costs had raised more than $700,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

"The family appreciates the outpouring of support from across the country, reassuring them of the overall goodness of humanity and of God’s will," attorney Stephen Tillitt told reporters in a prepared statement outside the jail.

Prosecutors say Aranda told police officers that he had gone to the mall the prior day "looking for someone to kill," but it did not "work out." Court documents claim Aranda said he originally planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead.


Aranda has two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including one in which he threw a glass of water and glass of tea at a woman who refused to buy him something. Aranda at one point was banned from the mall.

Court records show that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after the earlier mall assaults. The Star-Tribune reported that Aranda was previously convicted of first-degree property damage and was also arrested on charges of assault and theft in Illinois.

The paper also reported that Aranda told police that he "has some anger issues" after he was arrested for allegedly smashing computers at a Minneapolis public library.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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