NBC 5 Investigates learned Monday that Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who has been charged with the attempted murder of a child after police say he threw a boy over the balcony at the Mall of American, has a criminal history in Chicago.
According to court documents, in 2014 Aranda got into an altercation at a Ravenswood Golden Nugget restaurant. Aranda was checking out at the register but his debit card was not working. He used the restaurant’s phone to verify his debit card amount for $31.88. The police report states that Aranda then became enraged when the victim told him she was going to call the police if he could not pay. Aranda “struck the victim in the head with the telephone.” Another restaurant customer attempted to intervene but Aranda then “produced a large knife and began to chase the (customer) around the restaurant threatening to stab him.” Aranda ran out of the restaurant but was shortly apprehended by police. In their investigation, police discovered that Aranda one day earlier had threatened to “slit the throat of the manager” at another Golden Nuggett Restaurant.
Aranda was eventually found guilty of simple assault and 2 counts of theft. He received 18 months of supervision, plus $25 and $31.88 in restitution.
In another 2015 case, Aranda was arrested at a Greyhound bus terminal after he started “yelling at the agents and using profanity” after attempting to use a ticket kiosk. Court records say that security and management attempted to help but Aranda became “irate, becoming louder” and security and management asked him to leave. Aranda refused and remained at the bus station. Police reports said that security took Aranda outside where Chicago police met him. According to the reports, Aranda told police “I ain’t going to jail.” The court case was later dismissed when the complaining witness was not in court.
Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in Friday's attack . The child plunged almost 40 feet and is fighting for his life in a Minneapolis hospital with head trauma and multiple broken bones.
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.
The child's family has asked for privacy. A GoFundMe page set up for the child, named Landen, had attracted nearly $600,000 in donations as of Monday.
The page's creator, Noah Hanneman, posted Sunday that Landen had a "peaceful sleep and is still fighting his courageous battle."