Campaign for 5-year-old thrown off 3rd floor Mall of America balcony by stranger raises $300,000
Police said this is an 'isolated incident' and investigators are still trying to figure out why a stranger threw a child off the mall balcony
More than $300,000 has been raised by wellwishers of the five-year-old child who was thrown or pushed off a mall's balcony by a stranger. The incident happened at the Mall of America, Minnesota, and the child has suffered life-threatening injuries after being thrown off the third floor of the mall, as reported by MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) earlier.
The boy, identified as Landen Hoffman, is a resident of Woodbury, Minnesota. He was tossed out of the balcony by a 24-year-old man identified as Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who has since been arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Landen's cousin, April Hoffmann, posted on Instagram this Saturday, paying a tribute to him and asking people to pray for him. "Please pray for my cousin's beautiful son Landen," she wrote. "A monster of a man threw him from a 3rd floor balcony at the mall, he is fighting to stay with us every second."
Friends of the family began a GoFundMe campaign for the little boy, who has been described as "the sweetest, kindest 5-year-old you will ever meet." They continued: "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." Remarkably enough, the campaign has already raised more than $310,000 — surpassing its original goal of $250,000 — as of Saturday night.
The man who threw Landen from the balcony, Aranda, is from the Minneapolis metro area. He is being currently held at the Bloomington Police Department. The police were called to the mall after the incident happened and Aranda was chased down inside the mall before he was taken into custody.
Witnesses reported that a woman at the mall "was screaming, 'Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge'," Brian Johnson told WCCO. "Additional information from witnesses indicated the five-year-old might have been pushed or thrown," Bloomington Chief of Police Jeff Potts said. Emergency crews rushed to the child and police along with witnesses and gave him first aid, Potts said. "The child did suffer significant injuries," he said. "The child has been transported to the hospital and has been receiving care."
"This was a senseless act and words cannot truly express our profound shock and sadness," the Mall of America said in a statement on Friday. "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."