A five-year-old boy is fighting for his life after a stranger threw him from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Bloomington Police arrested Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, and charged him with attempted murder.
The entire situation unfolded on Friday morning at the Mall of America. According to a GoFundMe set up for the boy, his family was visiting the mall with friends. The child identified by his first name only as Landen was walking on the third floor of the mall.
Suddenly, a man maliciously walked up to Landen, grabbed him, and threw him off the balcony to the first floor. Landen landed on the first floor of the mall.
After throwing the boy from the balcony, Aranda fled the scene. A witness chased Aranda and attempted to stop him from leaving the mall. Authorities found Aranda at a transit station at the mall and arrested him.
While police dealt with the suspect, witnesses stood with Landen’s mother and waited for first responders. In a press conference on April 13, Bloomington Police stated that Landen suffered life-threatening injuries. After first responders arrived, they transferred him to Children’s Hospital Minneapolis.
Despite the height of the fall and severity of his injuries, police said that Landen is in stable condition. He will need numerous surgeries and medical help to recover fully.
During the press conference, police said that Aranda had been arrested three times in 2015. One of his arrests occurred at the Mall of America in July 2015. Authorities caught him throwing items from the third-floor balcony. After his arrest, police banned him from the mall for a year.
Other arrests occurred at local restaurants in Bloomington outside of the mall. In one incident he threw a glass at an employee of a restaurant. The second incident he became unruly after he refused to pay his bill.
In all three cases, police charged him with numerous crimes. According to the Star Tribune, Aranda has a long history of criminal cases within Hennepin County. Additionally, he appears to suffer from some form of mental illness.
The Star Tribune reported his current address is a homeless shelter in Minneapolis. He has also lived in homes for individuals with disabilities. Aranda is not from Minnesota. He moved to the area from Chicago, and his family remains in Illinois.
According to Landen’s GoFundMe, he is a vibrant and energetic 5-year old. Creators of the campaign wrote,
“He is the sweetest kindest 5 year old you will ever meet. His soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets. He is full of energy and life and enjoys soccer, playing with friends and family and playing hockey with his brother and sister.”
The fundraiser hopes to raise $500,000.00 to cover hospital bills and rehabilitation costs for the years to come. Initially, the fundraiser displayed a photo of the boy. However, Bloomington Police requested they remove the picture to protect the child’s privacy. Also, the fundraiser says that he is lucky he survived the fall.The family did not know Aranda. Police do not believe mall goers are at risk following the crime. Aranda’s crime is considered an isolated incident. The suspect has not provided a reason for why he threw the child off the balcony.
After arresting Aranda at Mall of America, police booked him at Bloomington Police Department. Then authorities transferred him to Hennepin County Jail. He is charged with attempted murder.
The family of Landen must be going through such a heartwrenching time. Thankfully, their child survived. However, the injuries that he sustained may impact him for life. Police said the family is from Woodbury, Minnesota a suburb of St. Paul.
While the suspect is undoubtedly at fault for his role, he is suffering from a severe mental illness. He should be punished for his actions. However, I hope that he receives mental health help from the state to stabilize him.
Finally, if you are interested in helping the family out with their expenses, please visit their GoFundMe.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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