The family of a 5-year-old boy thrown over a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in 2019 announced Monday that they have settled their lawsuit against the mall alleging that security failed to thoroughly investigate their son's attacker when he displayed suspicious activity there the day before.
The Minneapolis law firm Briol and Benson shared in a news release that the terms of the settlement are confidential, and that the mall and the boy's family "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. MOA and the family will ask that any resulting change be named in honor of the young boy" known publicly as Landen.
His family filed the lawsuit in 2021, alleging that mall security was negligent in failing to stop Emmanuel Aranda, who had a documented history of violent and aggressive activity and who was twice banned from MOA.
Aranda was at the mall that day looking for someone to kill because he was angry that women at the mall had rejected his attempts to talk to them, according to criminal charges filed against him.
The day before the attack — which shocked the community and made national news—Aranda displayed suspicious activity at MOA. He was at the mall for more than two hours, mostly spent near the third-floor balcony, and at one point a mall security officer spoke to Aranda as he stood at the balcony and looked over the railing, according to the lawsuit.
Security never checked his name to see that he had two prior bans at MOA, and he returned the next morning, when Landen's mom brought him to the mall after paren- teacher conferences. Aranda "prowled the third floor unconstrained until he snatched [the boy] and threw him over the balcony railing," according to the lawsuit.
Aranda was first banned from the mall in 2015 for allegedly throwing items off an upper level of the mall and destroying merchandise in two stores. Three months after the ban was issued, Aranda threatened guests at a mall restaurant, yelling obscenities, throwing drinking glasses and tossing water in people's faces, leading to a second ban effective through October 2016, the lawsuit said.
Landen suffered severe injuries that have caused a deterioration of his memory, adaptive skills and academic performance. But on Monday, the family's attorneys said that his "recovery has been nothing short of miraculous and the focus remains on his health and wellbeing, which includes privacy during this time."
Aranda, 26, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and is serving a 19-year prison term. He is expected to be released in 2031.