MINNEAPOLIS—The man charged with throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America told police he was angry at being rejected by women at the Minnesota mall and was “looking for someone to kill” when he went there last week, according to a criminal complaint on April 15
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in Friday’s attack. The child plunged almost 40 feet and is fighting for his life in a Minneapolis hospital with head trauma and multiple broken bones.
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 mother of Landen Hoffmann, the boy, told officers that she, her son, her friend, and the friend’s child were outside the Rain Forest Cafe on the third floor of the mall on Friday morning when Aranda approached them.
She said Aranda came close to them so she asked if they were in his way and if they should move. That’s when the suspect picked up Landen, threw him off of the balcony, and fled.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 15, 2019
Officers estimated that the boy fell approximately 39 feet before smashing into the floor. He suffered multiple fractured bones in his arms and legs in addition to massive head trauma.
Police caught Aranda on a light rail train at the mall waiting for it to leave. They said he admitted throwing the child from the balcony and said he had come to the mall a day earlier seeking to kill someone but it did not “work out.” Aranda originally said he planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead, the complaint said.
“Defendant indicated he had been coming to the Mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the Mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive,” the complaint said.
Brian Johnson walked into Mall of America moments after a child was pushed from the third floor, according to police. Johnson said the child’s family member was asking for prayers and that police immediately got a handle on the scene. @kare11 pic.twitter.com/1gYf7ptzAz
— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak) April 12, 2019
Surveillance footage showed Aranda walking in the mall on the third floor on Friday and looking over the balcony several times before approaching Landen and the boy’s mother.
“This crime has shocked the community,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “That a child, with his mother, at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone.”
The page’s creator, Noah Hanneman, posted Sunday that Landen had a “peaceful sleep and is still fighting his courageous battle.”
NTD News Reporter Zachary Stieber Contributed To This Report.