Police: Suspect arrested after child falls from MOA's 3rd floor

Updated: 7:58 p.m. | Posted: 1:05 p.m.

Bloomington police say a man who is suspected of throwing a 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America on Friday has been arrested.

The boy suffered life-threatening injuries, but authorities have not released details, nor have they given an update on his condition.

Officers were called after 10 a.m. to the mall's southeast court on reports that a child had fallen from the third floor to the first floor. Witnesses told officers that the child may have been thrown or pushed and that a male suspect had taken off running, Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts told reporters.

Police found and arrested the man, 24, at the mall's transit station. MPR News typically does not publish the names of suspects until prosecutors have charged them.

The police say the man is from the metro area. At this point, authorities do not believe the suspect knew the family or the child, Potts said. There's no motive known yet.

"We feel like this is an isolated incident," Potts said; he said police believe there is no ongoing threat to the public.

Court records show the suspect was charged following two previous run-ins with police and security officers at the megamall.

He pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of interfering with a peace officer in connection with a July 4, 2015, incident where he was seen throwing objects from the upper level off the mall.

According to the criminal complaint, the man swept his hand across a display table at the Bare Minerals store, knocking several items of merchandise to the floor. When Bloomington police caught up with him in a fitting room at Footaction, he refused to give his name and resisted arrest.

Mall of America staff banned the man from the premises for a year, but he returned on October 25, 2015.

In a separate criminal complaint, prosecutors say he sat on a bench beside two women who were waiting for the Twin City Grill to open. The man asked one of the women to buy him food or give him money and later followed the pair into the restaurant and sat at an adjacent table.

After the restaurant's manager asked the man to leave, the man grabbed a glass of water and threw it in the face of one of the women. He then threw a full glass of tea at the woman, striking her in the thigh.

The man pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault and obstructing the legal process, both gross misdemeanors, as well as a misdemeanor trespass charge. He was sentenced to 30 days in the Hennepin County workhouse and two years of probation. The man was also ordered to undergo psychological treatment.

Court records list the man's recent residences as the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis, a homeless shelter, and Pursuit Hometel, a group home on Park Avenue that serves adult men with disabilities.

Court documents also show that the mall assault suspect was convicted of property damage for smashing five computers at Sumner Library in Minneapolis in August of 2015, causing about $5,000 in damage.

According to the complaint in that case, he told library security guards that he "has some anger issues" and "became angry after he read something" on Facebook.

He was initially charged with felony property damage, but the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor when he pleaded guilty in Hennepin County mental health court.

The man was banned from Sumner Library for a year and charged with trespass when he returned a month later. According to the complaint in that case, he tried to ask a library employee for a date and admitted stalking her when she turned him down and indicated to police that he knew where the woman lived.

A judge ordered the man to take his medications as prescribed and avoid further arrests. The court dismissed the misdemeanor charge a year later.

Court records show the man was again charged with misdemeanor assault in 2017 and failed to appear at a hearing. He had an outstanding warrant for his arrest at the time he allegedly assaulted the boy at the Mall of America.

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