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Man accused of throwing boy from Mall of America balcony held on $2 million bail

Man charged in mall attack

A man accused of throwing a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America said little during his first court appearance. Emmanuel Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in Friday's attack. Aranda's bail was kept at $2 million and a hearing was set for May 14.  

Police said Aranda told them he went to the mall "looking for someone to kill" and chose the boy at random. 

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."

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." 

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.

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Emmanuel Aranda CBS Minnesota

The child plunged almost 40 feet, suffering massive head trauma and broken arms and legs, the station reports. Stephen Tillitt, an attorney appearing for the victim's family, said the child remains in critical condition at a Minneapolis hospital.

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.

A GoFundMe page set up for the child, named Landen, had attracted more than $700,000 in donations as of Tuesday. The page says the boy has a "very long road to recovery ahead of him."

"The family doesn't know [Aranda] and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence," the page says.