Police have identified a man suspected of throwing a child from the third floor of a shopping centre in front of his screaming mum.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, is being held at the Bloomington Police Department charged with one count of attempted homicide, according to police.
The boy, five, has been left seriously ill in hospital following the incident at Mall of America in Minnesota, on Friday afternoon.
Witnesses said a man approached the woman and her son, picked him up and tossed him over the edge at one of the US’s biggest shopping complexes.
Brian Johnson told WCCO: ‘She was screaming “Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my god, my baby, someone threw him over the edge”.
‘She was screaming like a banshee, like there’s no tomorrow. I just don’t know. Everyone was in shock.’
Police chief Jeff Potts said it does not appear Aranda had any relationship with the boy or his family.
One witness told the New York Daily News that the child was laying ‘motionless…in a pool of blood,’ as emergency responders were seen performing CPR on the boy.
He has been rushed to the Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis with his mother.
A Bloomington Police spokesperson said the child suffered ‘significant injuries.’
The Mall of America said in a statement: ‘Earlier today, Mall of America security was notified of an incident involving a child falling from one of the upper floors.
‘Mall Security responded immediately as well as the Bloomington Police Department. Emergency Services were notified and responded as well.
The child was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital. Bloomington Police is investigating the incident.’
A spokesperson later added: ‘This was a senseless act and words cannot truly express our profound shock and sadness.
‘Our immediate and only concern is for the wellbeing of the family and the child, as well as for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident.
‘We have counseling services available for anyone who may need assistance. We know that this is a concerning event for all of us.
‘As the Bloomington Police Department continues to investigate how and why this isolated incident happened, we will provide our full cooperation.’