Chicago (CBS) — Investigators say a 24-year-old man, who may have violent roots in Chicago, tossed a 5-year-old stranger off a third story balcony at Minnesota’s Mall of America.
The boy suffered serious injuries and is receiving medical care in Minneapolis.
First responders tended to the 5-year-old Friday who is said to have plummeted about 40 feet within the mall.
Law enforcement says Emmanuel Aranda forced the boy over the edge then ran. But, police eventually caught up with him.
They’ve had run-ins with the 24-year-old at least three times, including while he was at a mall restaurant, where police accused him of throwing a glass at one of the employees.
Most recently, authorities say Aranda refused to pay his bill at a restaurant in Bloomington, Minnesota.
That story sounds familiar to investigators in Chicago. Records show a man with the same name and birth date was accused of violence linked to two Golden Nugget family restaurants here.
Back in 2014, police say he threatened to slit the throat of an employee at the restaurant at Diversey and Elston.
But, at the Golden Nugget on Lawrence near Ravenswood, on Aug. 24, 2014, he was charged with a handful of crimes, including aggravated assault.
Police say Aranda was using the restaurant’s telephone to check funds on his debit card. A 39-year-old waitress told him she was going to call police if he did not pay his bill. He became enraged and, investigators say, he struck her with the phone.
A male customer tried to intervene, but police say he was hit in the head with a plate. Aranda then pulled out a large knife and chased the male customer around the restaurant threatening to stab him.
Police prepare to charge Aranda for the crime against the child. Meantime, a single rose rests where the boy landed and where crime tape and investigators once worked.
Charges could come Monday.
According to county records, the 24-year-old does not have an outstanding warrant issued in October 2016 for skipping court in the Golden Nugget case.