The Somali immigrant who threw a 5-year-old boy off a third floor balcony at the Mall of America has a history of mental illness, according to published reports.
Police identified the man as Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24. He has had several run-ins with mall security in the past.
The boy, identified only as Landen, was at the mall with his mother and another child around 10 a.m. on Friday, April 12, when a total stranger picked him up and threw him over a 3rd floor railing near a Kids Foot Locker store.
Landen plunged nearly 40 feet to the marble floor below. He landed between an escalator and a Michael Kors boutique. He is in critical condition but is expected to survive his extensive injuries. He faces multiple surgeries and long-term rehabilitation.
Police Chief Jeff Potts said Aranda immediately took off running. Officers caught up to him at the mall's transit station and placed him under arrest. Witnesses are credited with assisting police to make the quick arrest.
Potts described the scene upon his arrival at the mall as "gutwrenching." Landen was lying face up on the floor. There was "blood everywhere."
"This was a tough one," Potts said at a news conference on Saturday afternoon. "This was just under a 40-foot fall. That's a pretty high fall. Immediately my thoughts were: how could something like this happen?"
The Mall of America had only been open for 17 minutes when witnesses heard a woman screaming that her child was thrown off the balcony. Witnesses say the woman asked them to pray for her son.
Aranda was previously arrested and banned from the mall for a year due to several incidents, including throwing water at diners and throwing a glass at an employee in a restaurant in 2015.
He had altercations with employees at two restaurants at the mall after he refused to pay his bills.
In a separate incident, Aranda threw objects off a balcony at the same mall in July 2015. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanors including disorderly conduct and damage to property.
Aranda's cases were tried in mental health court with the same results: he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was released back on the streets, according to the Bloomington police.
In 2014, a man with the same name was arrested in Chicago after incidents of violence at two Golden Nugget family restaurants, according to CBS Chicago.
Chicago police say the man threatened to slit the throat of an employee of one of the restaurants after he refused to pay his bill.
Aranda is being held without bail in a Minneapolis jail. He is charged with attempted murder.
According to the Citizen Free Press, Aranda is from the same heavily Somali district as Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who made headlines last week when she said, "Some people did something" on September 11, 2001.
The Mall of America is located in Bloomington, Minnesota. It opened in 1992, and has more than 520 stores. The mall is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations with over 40 million visitors annually.