A 5-year-old who plummeted from a Mall of America balcony Friday suffered life-threatening injuries, and a man suspected of pushing or throwing the child faces an attempted homicide charge, police said.
Police in Bloomington, Minnesota, got reports at 10:17 a.m. that a child had fallen from a third-floor balcony at the mall and landed on the first floor. The child is still alive and receiving care.
Witnesses told officers “that the suspect, that had either pushed or possibly thrown the child, took off running immediately after the incident,” Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said.
Potts said that a witness attempted to stop the suspect from fleeing, and officers then “quickly” found the suspect in the mall and took him into custody.
The suspect, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, who is from metro area, faces a charge of attempted homicide, police said in a statement.
Police said that he did not have a relationship with the child or the child’s family. Officers are still investigating the scene, and are working with mall employees to find video footage of the incident.
His reason for throwing the child from the third floor is still unclear, but Potts said they are still trying to figure out why this happened.
“We believe this an isolated incident and there is no threat to the public,” police said, adding that the investigation by Bloomington Police, the Hennepin County sheriff’s crime lab, and Metro Transit Police is continuing.
The Mall of America statement called the alleged act “senseless.”
“This was a senseless act and words cannot truly express our profound shock and sadness,” the Mall of America said in a statement. “Our immediate and only concern is for the wellbeing of the family and the child, as well as for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident.”
The child is being treated at Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis, officials said.
Bloomington is a city of around 82,000 south of Minneapolis.
Court records show Aranda was arrested twice before at the Mall of America, the Associated Press reported.
He was arrested on July 4, 2015, after police said he matched the description of a man throwing things off the upper level of the mall, and police said he refused to give his name and resisted arrest. He also was accused of walking into a mall store and sweeping his hand across a display table, breaking glasses.
In October 2015, Aranda was accused of throwing glasses in Twin Cities Grill in the mall, and the complaint says that he approached a woman who was waiting for the restaurant to open and asked her to buy him something, and that when she refused Aranda allegedly threw a glass of water in her face and a glass of tea that struck her leg.
Aranda was under a trespass notice at the time banning him from the mall until July 4, 2016, the AP reported.
Messages left by NBC News with two public defenders that court records show represented Aranda in past cases were not immediately returned late Friday afternoon after business hours.