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Mall of America accident: Boy thrown from balcony fights “courageous battle” as donations pour in – CBS News

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The family of a 5-year-old boy thrown from a Mall of America balcony in an apparent random attack says he is “continuing to fight his courageous battle.” Police say the boy, named Landen, fell nearly 40 feet Friday after a man threw him off a third-floor balcony in at the mall, which is located in Bloomington, Minnesota, about 10 miles south of Minneapolis. 

The Woodbury boy was in critical condition Monday morning as donations and prayers for his recovery poured in from around the country. More than $580,000 had been raised via a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to cover the boy’s “immense” medical and rehabilitation costs as of Monday morning. A family friend thanked people for their donations in a post Sunday morning.  

“Thank you so much everybody for your continued support through donations and prayers! We are all completely overwhelmed with the love and support that has come our way during this tragic time,” a family friend posted Sunday morning. 

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“The family has asked for continued privacy during this time, but 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,” the update reads.

At the mall, shoppers have left a growing collection of toys and teddy bears, along with a note that they are “standin for Landen.”

“He was enjoying a day at the Mall of America with his mom and friend on Friday morning when a stranger maliciously grabbed him and threw him over the 3rd floor balcony for no apparent reason,” the GoFundMe page for Landen reads. “The family doesn’t know him and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence. 

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda in police photo in Bloomington
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, held on suspicion of attempted murder of a 5-year-old boy thrown or pushed from a third-floor balcony at Minnesota’s Mall of America, is seen in this photo released by police in Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S., on April 12, 2019. Courtesy City of Bloomington Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Relatives of Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, who is held in the Hennepin County jail on suspicion of attempted murder, are also speaking out.

“It’s gut-wrenching. I can’t believe this happened,” Aranda’s uncle told CBS Minnesota via telephone from Philadelphia. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Aranda’s uncle says his family’s thoughts are with the little boy fighting to survive.

“They’re the ones suffering right now. I can’t even imagine what the mom is going through,” he said.

Aranda’s mom tried to get him help, he told CBS Minnesota.

“My nephew he had mental problems for a long time, for a very long time. He needed help for a really long time.”

Court records show Aranda was previously arrested twice at the mall. He was taken into custody July 4, 2015, after police said he matched the description of a man throwing things off the upper level of the mall to the lower level. And in October 2015, Aranda was accused of throwing a glass of water and a glass of tea at a woman who refused to pay for his meal at a mall restaurant.

His uncle says Aranda moved to Minnesota to be closer to his sister.

Formal charges against Aranda were expected to be filed as soon as Monday.

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