A 5-year-old Woodbury boy who was thrown from the third level at the Mall of America was “continuing to fight” Sunday as donations and prayers for his recovery poured in from around the country.
The boy, named Landen, was apparently tossed over the railing Friday morning by a man he had never met.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, who has a history of mental health problems, is being held in the Hennepin County jail on suspicion of attempted murder. Charges are expected by noon Monday, authorities said.
The crime has garnered national attention. By Sunday evening, 15,000-plus people had donated more than $550,000 to the boy’s family via a GoFundMe page.
The page’s founder, Noah Hanneman, described Landen as the “sweetest, kindest” boy, who enjoys soccer and playing with his friends and siblings. He was visiting the mall with his mother and another child, the page said.
The post also said the boy, who is being treated at Children’s Hospital Minneapolis, will need multiple surgeries “to try to get back to a normal life for a young, vibrant boy.” Bloomington police said Saturday he was in stable condition.
Landen’s parents have not spoken publicly about the incident and are requesting privacy. Hanneman, a family friend, posted the update Sunday afternoon:
“We are all completely overwhelmed with the love and support that has come our way during this tragic time ... we want to keep everybody updated to how Landen is doing. He had a peaceful sleep and is still continuing to fight his courageous battle, he’s a strong survivor! No other significant updates at this time, but please continue to keep him in your prayers.”
Bloomington police have said they don’t believe Aranda knew the family or the boy.
Aranda has a long string of arrests and convictions for misdemeanor criminal offenses in recent years and had been ordered twice to stay away from the Mall of America, court records show.
At the time of Friday’s attack, he had an active warrant for his arrest stemming from a 2017 assault case in Hennepin County.
In 2015, Aranda ignored an order to stay away from the mall and was arrested after panhandling and harassing two female diners, a criminal complaint said.
He was convicted of fifth-degree assault, trespassing and interfering with a police officer. He was sentenced to 30 days in the Hennepin County workhouse and ordered to get a mental health evaluation. He was also ordered a second time to stay away from the mall, though both orders have likely expired.
In September 2015, he admitted he was breaking an order to stay away from a Minneapolis library, where he had been arrested for smashing five computers and stalking a female employee. His case was assigned to Criminal Mental Health Court. He was discharged from custody six months later and placed on probation.
Aranda also has a felony conviction for first-degree damage to property.
The Mall of America employs more than 150 security staffers who complete about three months of training, according to its website.
Reporter Mara Klecker contributed to this report.