Last week, at Minnesota's Mall of America, a man was taken into custody after approaching a family of strangers, grabbing their child, and throwing said child off the third floor balcony of the massive shopping complex.
After being questioned by police, the attacker's motivations have become somewhat clearer.
The attacker was identified as Emmanuel Aranda, a 24-year-old who frequented the Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the United States.
Aranda told police that he was often rejected by women while visiting the mall, and that these repeated rejections made him aggressive and violent.
BREAKING: Emmanuel Aranda planned to "kill someone" before throwing boy over balcony at MOA, newly filed charges sa… https://t.co/qBC3RPehN6— WCCO - CBS Minnesota (@WCCO - CBS Minnesota) 1555346380.0
Aranda informed authorities that he had made plans to kill someone at the mall a day earlier, but that those plans had not "worked out."
His initial idea, to kill an adult because they'll often stand by the balcony, was replaced with his attack on a child at the last minute. Security footage from the mall show Aranda repeatedly looking over the balcony before approaching the group of strangers.
@WCCO I can’t believe someone could do that to a little kid like that.— dug (@dug) 1555348333.0
@WCCO He threw a child; the same should happen to him. A child was brutalized, I have no compassion for ppl who hur… https://t.co/IZPp2Jca14— Qrtr4Thoughts (@Qrtr4Thoughts) 1555346544.0
The family whom he approached was standing outside the mall's Rainforest Cafe. As Aranda got close, the victim's mother asked if he wanted them "to move out of his way."
That's when Aranda grabbed the family's 5-year-old son, Landen, threw him off the balcony, and ran away.
Toxic masculinity is pervasive and dangerous as fuck: "Aranda told police he had been coming to the mall for severa… https://t.co/F2ve3pllk6— Alanna Vagianos (@Alanna Vagianos) 1555436937.0
@lannadelgrey Toxic masculinity leads men to believe they are ENTITLED to a relationship/sex/intimacy with a women… https://t.co/Mq5rrdApT3— Jess Walker (@Jess Walker) 1555438031.0
Landen fell nearly 40 feet and "suffered multiple fractured bones in his arms and legs, as well as massive head trauma."
He is now in critical condition at a nearby hospital, and a GoFundMe has been started to help pay for his medical expenses.
Go Fund Me for a boy who was thrown off a 3rd story floor at the Mall of America in Minnesota for no reason. The gu… https://t.co/i3KsEwTynp— Nick Swardson (@Nick Swardson) 1555180359.0
@PrisonPlanet Psycho— lee mccleary (@lee mccleary) 1555273263.0
Police found and arrested Aranda not long after he fled the scene on a light rail trail inside the mall. He appeared before a judge on Tuesday, where local reports say he showed very little emotion while telling the court he lived in a shelter.
Investigations have revealed he was previously banned from the Mall of America for threatening strangers and had been previously under investigation for "smashing computers at a Minneapolis public library."
@kare11 What the actual #&%* is wrong with him!?— Amy Gregg 📗 (@Amy Gregg 📗) 1555353662.0
What's more, Aranda was arrested in 2014 for assault, breaking a plate over someone's head and threatening strangers at a Chicago restaurant.
After two other assaults at the Mall of America in 2015, he was ordered to receive mental health treatment, but it's unknown whether or not he ever sought it out.
@lannadelgrey @OrionAura He has a history of mental health issues. So much so theyre assigned to the Criminal Menta… https://t.co/0oZW81UITS— New Town (@New Town) 1555438548.0
His appointed public defender, Paul Sellers, spoke to the press about the system which keeps sending Aranda back into the world:
"You wonder whether things could be prevented if we spent more on mental health treatment on the front end and mental health options on the front end, instead of always just waiting for bad things to happen and seeking retributive justice."
@kare11 Throw him over the balcony. Equal justice for the crime. This is beyond horrific.— Qrtr4Thoughts (@Qrtr4Thoughts) 1555346714.0
Meanwhile, a friend of Laden's family wrote of him on their GoFundMe page:
"[Landen's] soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets...The family doesn't know [the suspect] and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence."
Stay strong, Landon. We’re all pulling for you and your family little man. https://t.co/kqDl8TeXsH— Mark Parrish (@Mark Parrish) 1555179511.0
I can't fathom what his family is going through. My heart breaks. Any amount helps - https://t.co/DSVNIukvpQ via @gofundme— Melissa Coverdale (@Melissa Coverdale) 1555196482.0
To counter some of the negative reports I have been reading on FB today about Landen, the boy who was thrown over t… https://t.co/fS9mWeMP2R— Trudy Hart Petersen (@Trudy Hart Petersen) 1555203056.0
Please consider helping with prayers and support to the Hoffmann family. Landen’s big brother plays hockey with Ch… https://t.co/cTUmucNqBs— Elizabeth C Allen (@Elizabeth C Allen) 1555179620.0
Aranda will appear in court again on May 14, where he could be sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder. His bail is currently set at $2 million.