Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony still hospitalized

Lamar Ellis
April 15, 2019

A 5-year-old boy has to get multiple surgeries after being thrown off a 3rd-floor balcony at the Mall of America.

Records show that Aranda has a history of assault and bad behavior at the Mall of America, a sprawling complex in the Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota, that hosts hundreds of retail stores, restaurants, an amusement park and aquarium and draws 40 million visitors a year.

A witness told WCCO that the child's mother was heard screaming after the incident.

"She was screaming, 'Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh, my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge, '" Brian Johnson told WCCO. He is facing an attempted murder charge.

"At this time we do not believe there is a relationship between the suspect and the child or the family of the child, and we are actively investigating as to why this incident occurred", Potts said at a briefing just outside the mall. "The child was treated at the scene and then transported by ambulance to the hospital with life threatening injuries".

In an update posted to an online fundraising page for the family on Sunday afternoon, a family friend reported that the boy - whose first name is Landen - "had a peaceful sleep and is still continuing to fight his courageous battle; he's a strong survivor!"

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Potts said on Saturday there were "a lot of witnesses that were helpful" in the incident Friday. They say he fell almost 40 feet after a man threw him off the balcony Friday.

The boy was taken to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis with serious injuries.

In July 2015, he was arrested at the Mall of America on three misdemeanor charges - property damage, disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer - after police say Aranda threw items from the upper level of the mall to the lower level.

"We think this is a very isolated event", Potts said.

'Our immediate and only concern is for the wellbeing of the family and the child, as well as for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident.

Court records show the suspect was charged following two previous run-ins with police and security officers at the megamall. The woman refused, and Aranda allegedly threw a glass of water in her face and a glass of tea that struck her leg. Aranda was under a trespass notice at the time banning him from the mall until July 4, 2016.

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