The man who tossed a 5-year-old boy off of a balcony at the Mall of America pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Minnesota courtroom.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, faces up to 19 years in prison for attempted, premeditated first-degree murder. Prosecutors agreed to drop an aggravated circumstances charge against Aranda in exchange for his guilty plea, which could have added another year to his prison term.
This was not the first violent incident involving Aranda at the Mall of America. In 2015, he was arrested for damaging store property. Just a few months later, Aranda approached two women at a restaurant and threw water at one of them. Last month, he went back to the mall intent on hurting someone because women kept rejecting him, according to the criminal complaint.
In the complaint it said that Aranda was looking for an adult because he said they stand near the balcony but found a child to toss over a balcony instead. Aranda had a previous order to stay away from the mall but it was no longer in effect when he was arrested for throwing the child Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said that “since the incidents happened in 2015, that trespass period has expired.”
The child was treated for broken ribs and head trauma at a local hospital.
After the incident, the family set up a GoFundMe page. The page has surpassed its goal of $1 million with 28,796 people contributing.
A family friend wrote on the page that the family had no idea who Aranda was and that the boy is lucky to be alive.
“He was enjoying a day at the Mall of America with his mom and friend on Friday morning when a stranger maliciously grabbed him and threw him over the 3rd floor balcony for no apparent reason,” the GoFundMe says. “He has many surgeries ahead in his life to try to get back to a normal life for a young, vibrant boy.”
[Image via Hennepin County]