A five-year-old boy suffered life-threatening injuries on Friday after being thrown or pushed by an apparent stranger from a third-floor balcony at Minnesota's Mall of America, and a man who fled the scene has been charged with attempted homicide, police said.
Bloomington police Chief Jeffrey Potts said in a news conference Saturday that the boy fell almost 40 feet after a man threw him off the balcony Friday.
"I heard the mother screaming pray for my kid. please pray for my son. everyone please pray", said Brian Johnson, witness.
'She was screaming "Everyone pray, everyone pray".
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It has been reported that Landen Hoffmann from Woodbury, Minnesota, was tossed to the marble ground beneath the balcony on Friday (12 April) as his mum screamed: "Oh my God, my baby - someone threw him over the edge".
Aranda lives in the Bloomington area and has had a series of arrests and convictions related to the mall.
When asked about the child's condition, police said he "is still alive". The boy was rushed to a local hospital with "significant injuries" from the 40-foot fall, authorities said, and was still being treated 24 hours later.
Onlookers said a woman began shouting after the child was attacked.
Mall of America security tracked Aranda's location using cameras in the mall, allowing Bloomington police to apprehend him in the mall's transit station.
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Aranda has been involved in incidents before at the Mall of America, one resulting in an arrest, Potts said.
For these past charges, Aranda was banned from the mall through July 2016.
"Police officers have to deal with so much, so many kinds of things, but I can tell you that this is the kind of incident that they don't see very often", Potts said.
Witnesses told police that the alleged attacker "took off running immediately after the incident".
"We have counselling services available for anyone who may need assistance". Two misdemeanors stemmed from incidents at the mall in 2015. As the Bloomington Police Department continues to investigate how and why this isolated incident happened, we will provide our full cooperation'.
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The woman refused, and Aranda allegedly threw a glass of water in her face and a glass of tea that struck her leg.