Mall of America settles lawsuit with family of boy, 5, who was thrown off balcony by man 'looking for someone to kill'

Mall of America settles lawsuit with family of boy, 5, who was thrown off balcony by man 'looking for someone to kill'
Emmanuel Aranda (inset) pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the attack on the boy (Mark Erickson/Getty Images and Screenshot/Reuters video)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some readers. Discretion advised

BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA: The Mall of America has confidentially settled a lawsuit with the family of a boy, 5, who sustained severe head injuries after being thrown off a third-floor balcony of the mall by a lunatic who claims he was "looking for someone to kill." Emmanuel Aranda, 24, a man with a history of causing a disturbance at the mall allegedly threw Landen Hoffman, 5, off a balcony, 40 feet to the ground, at the shopping center in Bloomington, Minnesota, in April 2019.

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Aranda pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the attack on the boy. Hoffman who is now 8, at the time suffered severe head trauma and multiple broken bones. Aranda, who was banned from the mall in other two instances, told investigators he committed the cruel act after "a woman rejected his advances."

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Emmanuel Aranda pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to 19 years in prison (Reuters video screengrab)
Emmanuel Aranda pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to 19 years in prison (Reuters video screengrab)

In a lawsuit filed in 2021, the boy's family claimed the mall security should have prevented Aranda from "prowling" inside the building without an officer following him closely. The lawsuit alleged that the mall should have paid attention to the perpetrator considering the previous "violent, aggressive, and erratic" behavior that he had displayed at the shopping center.

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However, in a joint statement announcing the settlement, the mall and the family said they will work together to prevent similar incidents and the mall has promised to toughen its trespassing policies.

"Mall of America and the family have agreed to work together with a focus on safety, and already are jointly pursuing policy changes to existing trespass limits for violent criminals so as to give greater ability to preclude such persons from their premises," the statement said, reported Daily Mail. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages. At the time, attorneys of the family claimed the boy had already incurred more than $1.7 million in medical expenses.

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Landen underwent more than 15 medical procedures, including surgeries for two broken arms and a broken leg, facial and skull fractures and removal of his spleen, claimed his GoFundMe page in 2019. The fundraiser account raised nearly $1,066,180 exceeding their initial amount of $1,000,000. "The boy's recovery has been nothing short of miraculous and the focus remains on his health and wellbeing, which includes privacy during this time," Monday's statement read, adding. "The Mall and the family will ask that any resulting change be named in honor of the young boy."

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