MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The family of a 5-year-old boy who was thrown by a stranger off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in Minnesota this month says he's alert and conscious and no longer in critical condition.
The family issued a statement Friday saying Jesus has "saved our son's life and is healing him in the most miraculous ways." They say they're focused now on additional surgeries, healing and rehabilitation. They hope the boy will be able to return home by June.
Prosecutors have charged 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda with attempted premeditated first-degree murder for the April 12 attack . The boy plunged about 40 feet and suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones.
The family said it’s “astounded and so blessed” by donations to a GoFundMe page that had reached nearly $1 million.
Emmanuel Aranda of Minneapolis is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder. He told police he was angry at being rejected by women at the Minnesota mall and was “looking for someone to kill,” according to a criminal complaint.
Aranda did not know the family before he picked up the boy and threw him over the balcony.
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.
Court records show that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after the earlier mall assaults.
The boy’s mother told police that Aranda came up very close to her group as they stood outside the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. She said she asked him if they were in his way and should move, and he picked up the child without warning and threw him off the balcony, according to the complaint.
Police caught Aranda on a light rail train at the mall waiting for it to leave. They said he admitted throwing the child from the balcony and said he had come to the mall a day earlier seeking to kill someone but it did not "work out." Aranda originally said he planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead, the complaint said.
“Defendant indicated he had been coming to the mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive,” the complaint said.