A man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy off the third-floor balcony of Minnesota’s iconic Mall of America last week told police he was furious that women repeatedly rejected him, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Emmanuel Aranda, a 24-year-old man from Minneapolis, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder after confessing to tossing the child, whom he didn’t know, off the nearly 40-foot-high platform, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
The victim, named Landen, was critically hurt in the fall at the Bloomington mall ― the largest retail shopping mall in the U.S and a major tourist attraction. He suffered multiple fractured bones in his arms and legs, as well as massive head trauma, medical personnel told police, according to the complaint.
Landen’s mother told police that they had been standing outside the mall’s Rainforest Cafe on April 12 when Aranda approached them. She said Aranda came very close to them so she asked if he wanted them to move out of his way.
That’s when Aranda grabbed Landen, without warning, and threw him off the balcony before running away, the boy’s mother and several other witnesses told police. Officers subsequently located Aranda on a light rail train in the mall and placed him under arrest.
Aranda quickly confessed to throwing the boy off the balcony and fleeing the scene, police said, according to the complaint. He allegedly said he planned to kill someone at the mall a day earlier but that it didn’t “work out.”
Aranda told police that he planned to kill an adult because they usually stand near the balcony but chose to attack the boy instead, according to the complaint. He repeatedly acknowledged that he planned to kill someone at the mall and knew what he was doing was wrong, police said.
Surveillance video from the mall shows Aranda looking over the balcony on the mall’s third floor several times before approaching Landen, the complaint stated.
Aranda told police he had been coming to the mall for several years, where he attempted to talk to women but was frequently rejected, according to the complaint. The rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive, Aranda allegedly told police.
Aranda has been charged previously with throwing water in a woman’s face at the mall and destroying property, according to the complaint. He has a warrant out for his arrest from Illinois for assault.
He faces life in prison if convicted of attempted first-degree murder.
A GoFundMe page has raised over $670,000 toward Landen’s medical expenses and rehabilitation costs as of Tuesday morning.
Landen’s “soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets,” according to the crowdfunding page, created by a friend of the victim’s family. “The family doesn’t know [the suspect] and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence.”