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Suspect in Mall of America attack was ‘looking for someone to kill’ | TribLIVE.com
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Suspect in Mall of America attack was ‘looking for someone to kill’

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This undated photo provided by the Bloomington, Minn., Police Department, shows Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who was arrested in connection with an incident at the Mall of America where a 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday, April 12, 2019, after being pushed or thrown from a balcony.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man said he came to the Mall of America Friday “looking for someone to kill” before throwing a 5-year-old boy nearly 40 feet over a railing in an attack that shocked the nation.

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, was formally charged Monday with attempted first-degree premeditated murder in the attack. He is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday, when prosecutors are expected to seek $2 million bail.

The boy, named Landen, fell about 40 feet to a stone floor. According to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court, medical responders at the scene said the boy’s injuries included multiple fractured bones, including in his arms and legs. He was bleeding from the head and had massive head trauma.

He’s currently at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, where his condition is listed as critical.

Aranda confessed to the attack, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.

“Defendant … said that he was the one who had thrown the 5-year-old Victim from the balcony and fled,” the complaint said. “He said he formed a plan to kill someone at the Mall” on the day before the actual attack, but it didn’t work out that day.

Aranda told investigators he returned to the mall on Friday, April 12.

“He said he planned to kill an adult, because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the Victim instead,” the complaint said.

Aranda told investigators 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 to be aggressive.”

Aranda, who has roots in the Chicago area, has a felony conviction for first-degree property damage as well as a long string of misdemeanor arrests and convictions.

In a previous criminal case, Aranda told police that “he has some anger issues” after being arrested for smashing computers at a Minneapolis public library, according to court records.

In 2015, he was arrested at the Mall of America after a police officer saw him throwing items from the mall’s upper level. Aranda was ordered to stay away from the mall for a year and ignored the order. He was arrested at the mall weeks later for aggressively panhandling and harassing two women and for throwing drinking glasses at diners in a mall restaurant.

Court files show that judges have repeatedly ordered Aranda to undergo mental health counseling, abstain from alcohol and drugs, and take prescribed medications.

In Friday’s attack, witnesses said they suddenly heard screams around 10:15 a.m. Witnesses told police that a man had shoved or thrown a child over the third-level railing.

“Oh, my God! Pray for my son!” the boy’s mother cried out.

The mother screamed uncontrollably and appeared to be in shock, one witness said.

Aranda ran from the scene down to the ground level and into the mall’s transit station, where he was arrested.

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