A man is being held on suspicion of attempted murder after police said he threw a 5-year-old boy over the railing of a Mall of America balcony.
Bloomington police Chief Jeffrey Potts said he doesn't believe the suspect, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, knew the boy who was tossed off the mall's third floor and fell nearly 40 feet. A motive for the attack was under investigation, Potts said Saturday.
Potts described the scene as "gut-wrenching." The boy survived the fall, but police didn't comment on his condition because the boy's family requested privacy.
A GoFundMe page for the boy set up by family friend Noah Hanneman says he suffered life-threatening injuries. It's raised more than $500,000 for the family.
Hanneman told USA TODAY that the family is not making statements but is "very thankful for the prayers and support."
In an update posted Sunday, Hanneman said the boy, who enjoys playing soccer and hockey, is "continuing to fight his courageous battle" and is "a strong survivor."
"He is the sweetest, kindest 5-year-old you will ever meet," Hanneman said.
Aranda had been banned from the mall – but the ban was not in effect at the time of the incident. He has a history of misdemeanor convictions; some cases were handled through a mental health court, Potts said.
He was arrested at the mall in 2015 and faced three charges after he threw an object off the mall's third level and became uncooperative with police, Potts said.
Contributing: Joel Shannon.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Boy thrown nearly 40-feet from Mall of America balcony is a 'strong survivor'