'Gut-wrenching for everyone involved': Boy remains hospitalized after Mall of America incident
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - A five-year-old boy remains hospitalized after he was thrown from the third floor of the Mall of America Friday morning.
According to Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts, the boy suffered critical injuries after a man threw him from the third floor and then ran away. Police estimate the fall is just under 40 feet.
"The child is still alive, he is still receiving care and I think we are just asking for thoughts and prayers for that child to recover," Potts said.
The suspect, a 24-year-old man, was later caught and is now in custody. He is facing an attempted murder charge. Potts said there is no relationship between the suspect and the child or the child's family, and investigators are working to determine why the man threw the boy.
"Police officers have to deal with so much, so many kinds of things, but I can tell you that this is the kind of incident that they don't see very often," Potts said. "When it's involving a young child like that, it's pretty gut-wrenching for everybody involved."
Potts commended the Mall of America for quickly locating the suspect.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the boy, which can be found here. The GoFundMe raised more than $360,000 in less than 24 hours.
*Note: Per FOX 9 policy, the suspect will not be identified until formal charges have been filed. Charges are expected to come down Monday.
Suspect previously barred from Mall of America
Chief Potts said the suspect had three run-ins with Bloomington officers back in 2015, but had not had any contact since.
According to court records, the suspect has been previously barred from the Mall of America. A criminal complaint from July of 2015 states he was taken into custody after he was seen throwing items from the upper level of the mall to the lower level. Following that incident, he was convicted of obstructing a legal process by interfering with a police officer.
He was also convicted of fifth-degree assault, trespassing and interfering with a police officer for an incident in October of 2015. The charges state he threw a drinking glass at a customer at Twin City Grill in the Mall of America. Police learned at that time he had an existing trespass notice prohibiting him from the Mall until July of 2016. As part of his probation for the assault in the restaurant, he was barred from visiting the Mall of America until Dec. 29, 2017.
Statement from Mall of America
"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."