US

Boy Thrown From Mall Balcony Remains in Intensive Care

By The Associated Press

The parents of a 5-year-old Minnesota boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America say their son remains in intensive care due to severe complications from the April attack.

In an update on their GoFundMe page on June 25, the parents of the victim, identified only as Landen, say he has had more than 15 medical procedures, including surgeries for two broken arms and a broken leg, facial and skull fractures and removal of his spleen. The parents say it has been a challenging road to recovery and they are not sure when Landen will be able to come home.

He was thrown by Emmanuel Aranda, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison earlier this month for attempted first-degree murder.

Landen’s mother told officers that Aranda approached her, her friend, her friend’s child, and Landen, and she asked if they were in his way. Without uttering a word, he picked up the boy and dropped him over the edge.

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Four stories inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., outside of Minneapolis, on Aug. 12, 1992. (Bill Pugliano/Liason)

Officers estimated that the boy fell approximately 39 feet before smashing onto the floor. He suffered multiple fractured bones in his arms and legs in addition to massive head trauma.

Aranda was arrested at a nearby light rail train station. He told police officers that he’d gone to the mall, the largest in America, looking for someone to kill. He planned to kill an adult but ended up choosing the boy instead. He didn’t explain why he changed his mind.

According to Aranda’s uncle, the suspect has a long history of mental problems.

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Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, was charged with first-degree attempted murder on April 15, 2019, after throwing a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony on April 12, 2019, at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. (Bloomington Police Department)

Criminal Record

Aranda’s criminal record includes two convictions in 2015 for obstruction of the legal process/interfering with a peace officer, as well as convictions for fifth-degree assault, trespassing, and damage to property.

Court records show Aranda was arrested on July 4, 2015, after police said he matched the description of a man throwing things off the upper level of the Mall of America to the lower level.

Police say Aranda refused to give his name and resisted arrest. Aranda also was accused of walking into a mall store and sweeping his hand across a display table, breaking glasses.

Emmanuel Aranda, who threw a 5-year-old boy over a Mall of America balcony, listens as Judge Jeannice Reding hands out a 19-year sentence at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 3, 2019. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

In October 2015, Aranda was accused of throwing glasses in Twin Cities Grill in the mall. The complaint says Aranda approached a woman who was waiting for the restaurant to open and asked her to buy him something.

The woman refused, and Aranda allegedly threw a glass of water in her face and a glass of tea that struck her leg. Aranda was under a trespass notice at the time banning him from the mall until July 4, 2016.

Mall of America

The 4.2-million-square-foot Mall of America is in Bloomington, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis. The mall, which opened in 1992, has more than 520 stores and is visited by 40 million visitors annually, according to its website.

Attractions include Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park and Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium.

It has occasionally been the scene of crimes or disruptive protests, and the mall’s website touts extensive security training for its officers.

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The Mall of America, typical of the closed mall pioneered in the ’50s, in Bloomington, Minn., on Feb. 23, 2015. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

In 2015, the al-Shabab extremist group called for an attack on the Mall of America and other shopping centers in a video. Al-Shabab fighters attacked an upscale Kenyan mall in 2013 in a siege that left 67 people dead. In response, the Mall of America said it was tightening security, and that some of the extra precautions would be noticeable to guests and others would not be.

A Minneapolis man was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year for attacking two brothers at the Macy’s department store at the mall. The man said he was inspired by the ISIS terrorist group when he stabbed the brothers in a dressing room area in November 2017.

A teenage brawl erupted at the mall the day after Christmas in 2011. The melee was caught on YouTube, but police concluded the brawl—the worst case of violence at the mall in more than 15 years—was not organized through social media as initially feared. Ten people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including four juveniles.

NTD staff contributed to this report.