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Man accused of throwing boy off Minneapolis mall balcony was born in U.S., not Somalia

April 16, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Man who threw 5-year-old boy off Mall of America balcony is a Somali immigrant 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The man arrested in the case was born in Chicago, according to public records. He did not emigrate from Somalia, as posts circulating on social media state. 

THE FACTS: Emmanuel Aranda, 24, who was charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the April 12 attack, has two prior convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, The Associated Press has reported. He was born in August 1994 at the University of Illinois Hospital, according to Cook County birth records.

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The Minneapolis metropolitan region, where the Mall of America is located, is home to the country’s largest Somali refugee population, many of whom are Muslim. Posts circulating with the false information attempt to portray those immigrants in a negative light. 

In addition to assaults at the mall, court records in Cook County show Aranda was arrested in 2014 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at a Golden Nugget restaurant in Chicago. Police said Aranda has admitted to throwing the child off the balcony, and told authorities that he had come to the mall a day earlier seeking to kill someone.  

The boy suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones after being thrown nearly 40 feet. He was hospitalized in Minneapolis.  

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.