A random act of violence has put the life of a five-year-old boy in danger. The boy was thrown about 40 feet from a Mall of America balcony Friday by a man, who has since been arrested.
The boy, who has been identified as Landen Hoffman, is still alive and fighting for his life. The Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said at a news conference noon Saturday.
“I know there’s been some reports and some concerns about whether or not he is still alive,” Potts said. “He is still receiving care. We just want to acknowledge that this is a horrific situation. The family and this child are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The incident happened about 10:15 a.m. on Friday. Police said Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, picked the boy at random and threw him over the third story balcony.
Aranda was at the mall Friday, police said, when he threw or pushed the boy over the railing, sending the child some 30 feet or more onto a stone floor two levels below.
One woman, Tina Hailey, told the Star Tribune that was walking with her husband when she heard screams.
“Oh, my God! Pray for my son!” she heard the boy’s mother yell.
The mother screamed uncontrollably and appeared to be in shock, Hailey said. “She didn’t know what to do. Nobody was helping her."
After Landen hit the floor, he wasn't breathing. Multiple passersby stopped to help and perform CPR on him.
Police do not believe there was any connection between the family and Aranda. A witness ran after Aranda as he fled and tried to stop him.
He was arrested by the Bloomington police. He is being held at Hennepin County Jail pending charges of attempted homicide.
The boy is currently at the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis with serious injuries. There is a GoFundMe page for him set up by a friend of the family, Noah Hanneman.
Hanneman, whose wife is a long-time friend of Landon's mother, called him “the sweetest, kindest five-year-old you will ever meet.”
He continued, “Their family is always so generous to others,” he wrote. “They give without expecting anything in return and are the type of family you always hope to live next door.”
He added, “He has many surgeries ahead in his life to try to get back to a normal life for a young, vibrant boy."
This is not Aranda's first incident at the mall. He had been accused of throwing things off the upper level of the mall, and he threw a glass at a woman at a mall restaurant.
Please join us in praying for Landen. May God bring him back to full health.