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Emmanuel Aranda, Charged With Throwing Boy From MOA Balcony, Makes 1st Court Appearance

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Emmanuel Aranda, the man charged with the violent assault on a 5-year-old boy at Mall of America Friday, made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

Aranda showed little emotion, and spoke only when he spelled out his name and told the judge he lives in a shelter.

Related: 'Shocked The Community': Emmanuel Aranda Charged With Throwing Boy Over MOA Balcony

Among those in the crowded Hennepin County Jail courtroom was the attorney for the young child's family.

"The child is currently in critical condition, but with the grace of God and the excellent support and care, has begun a long journey to recovery," said attorney Stephen Tillitt outside of court.

Aranda, charged with attempted pre-meditated murder for tossing the boy over a third-floor railing in the mall's rotunda, confessed his crime to police investigators.

Emmanuel Aranda in Court
(credit: Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration)

His anger issues date back to when he was living in Chicago. Aranda had an outburst at a restaurant in 2014, where he smashed a dinner plate over a customer's head. He then grabbed a knife and proceeded to threaten other customers and chase them through the restaurant. A server there, who still fears Aranda, described the terror.

"People were literally putting children under tables because he was saying, 'I'm going to stab somebody and kill somebody,'" the server said.

The behavior continued when Aranda moved to Minneapolis to be with his sister. He was banned for a time from Mall of America for threatening patrons. He also was cited for smashing computers at a Minneapolis public library.

"Most mental illnesses now, we have effective treatment for," said Dr. Matthew Syzdek, psychology manager at Hennepin Healthcare.

Syzdek says treatment is only effective if you can get the person into assessment and psychological care. Most often, that requires the patient's permission.

"But if there isn't imminent risk with some clear evidence that there is a danger to oneself or others, it's that person's choice and that's the way society is set up," Syzdek said.

Aranda has been ordered into mental health counseling for past convictions. However, due to privacy laws, it is unclear if he ever followed through.

Aranda returns to court May 14. His bail remains at $2 million.

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