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Child thrown from Mall of America balcony showing "real signs of recovery"

Man charged with throwing kid off mall balcony

A 5-year-old boy who authorities say was thrown from a third-floor balcony at Mall of America is showing "real signs of recovery," a lawyer for boy's family told CBS Minnesota on Friday. Police said the suspect, Emmanuel Aranda, told them he went to the mall "looking for someone to kill" and chose the boy at random. 

"We have good news to share with you on this Good Friday. Our miracle child is showing real signs of recovery. New test results have been positive, though he remains in intensive care with a long road ahead," attorney Stephen Tillitt said Friday on behalf of the boy's family. 

Surveillance video at the mall shows Aranda walking in the mall on the third floor, looking over the balcony several times, before approaching the victim and his mother, CBS Minnesota reports. The mother of the boy told authorities Aranda approached them and, without warning, picked the boy up and threw him over the side of the balcony.  

The child plunged almost 40 feet, suffering massive head trauma and broken arms and legs, according to CBS Minnesota. 

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda in police photo in Bloomington
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda Bloomington Police Department

Tillitt said Friday the family continues requesting privacy as they focus on their son and his recovery, but updates will be shared with the community.

"Just know that we absolutely feel your overwhelming love, prayers and support, for they seem to be working. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts," Tillitt said on behalf of the family.

A GoFundMe campaign set up for the family has raised more than $900,000 in six days, fast approaching the $1 million goal. 

Aranda appeared behind a glass partition Tuesday in a courtroom at the Hennepin County jail. Asked by the judge whether he had any questions, he said, "Not at all."

Aranda remains in jail on $2 million bond.  

According to a criminal complaint, Aranda told investigators after his arrest he was angry over being rejected by women he attempted to talk to at the mall, "and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive." 

Aranda has two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including one in which he threw a glass of water and glass of tea at a woman who refused to buy him something. Aranda at one point was banned from the mall.

Aranda was also charged in August of 2015 with destroying computers in a north Minneapolis library, the station reports. According to the criminal complaint, Aranda told officers that "he has some anger issues," and that, "it does not happen all the time."

Aranda was born in Chicago, where Cook County court documents showed a 2014 arrest for assaulting a woman who worked at a Golden Nugget restaurant. 


Editor's note: This headline has been updated to more accurately describe the incident. A man is accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy off a balcony at Mall of America.

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