(Reuters) – A 5-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.
The child was rushed to a hospital after officers and passersby provided aid at the scene, Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said. His condition was not immediately known.
Shortly after the incident, police arrested a 24-year-old man inside the mall, one of the state’s leading tourist attractions, after he had fled the scene, Potts said.
The suspect, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who is from the area, was charged with attempted homicide, police said in a statement.
“At this time we do not believe there is a relationship between the suspect and the child or the family of the child, and we are actively investigating as to why this incident occurred,” Potts said at a briefing just outside the mall.
Police received an initial report at 10:17 a.m. saying a child had fallen from the third level of the mall, but witnesses reported the child was pushed or thrown by a man, Potts said.
“We don’t believe that there is a threat to the public at this point as the suspect has been located,” he said, adding that the incident appeared to be isolated.
The Mall of America, home to 330 stores, is located in the city of Bloomington, just south of Minneapolis. According to the mall’s website, it is visited by 40 million people from around the world each year.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and James Dalgleish