Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, was charged Friday with attempted murder after police said witnesses told them that he pushed or threw the young boy. Police in Bloomington, Minnesota, got reports at 10:17 a.m. that a child had fallen about 39 feet from a third-floor balcony at the mall and had landed on the first floor.
The boy, who has been identified only as Landen, is in critical condition, an attorney for his family said outside court Tuesday.
Witnesses told officers that the suspect took off running after either pushing or throwing the child, Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said.
Potts said that a witness tried to stop the suspect from fleeing and that officers then "quickly" found him in the mall and took him into custody.
According to a criminal complaint released Monday, Aranda told investigators that he had formed a plan to kill someone at the mall the previous day but that it "did not work out," so he returned Friday.
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He said he had planned to kill an adult standing near the railing but chose the young victim, instead, according to the complaint.
Aranda also told police that he had frequented the mall and began to lash out after being rejected when he tried to talk to women, according to the complaint, which said he also told police that he knew what he was doing was wrong.
Police said that Aranda had no connection with the child's family and that his motive for the alleged attack was unclear.
An attorney for Landen's family released a statement Monday thanking people for their support.
"His condition has very little change at this point, but we are hoping to get some good news back from some upcoming tests in the next few days," the statement said. "The family is continuing to request privacy during this time."
Aranda has two previous convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including one in which he threw a glass of water and a 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.
He was also previously arrested in Chicago on multiple charges, including theft, assault with a deadly weapon and battery, according to a 2014 arrest record. Aranda was at a Golden Nugget Restaurant when he beat an employee with a phone and then stabbed a bystander who attempted to intervene, the record stated.
The Minnesota criminal complaint said Aranda had an outstanding warrant from Illinois for assault but did not provide further details.
He was being held Tuesday on $2 million bond and was scheduled to appear in court May 14. Information for Aranda's lawyer was not immediately known.
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.