- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2019

Nearly $600,000 has poured into a GoFundMe account aimed at helping “Landen,” the five-year-old boy who was thrown from a Mall of America balcony last week.

The child, whose full name hasn’t been provided due to the family’s request for privacy, is battling for his life in the Twin Cities area — but nearly 20,000 people have rallied to his aide on the crowdfunding website.

Concerned citizens raised over $592,000 in two days.

“[Landen]is the sweetest kindest 5-year-old you will ever meet,” the GoFundMe page readings. “His soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets. … 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 family doesn’t know him and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence. My wife and His mother have been best friends since they were 3 years old.”

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, was arrested last Friday on a suspicion of attempted homicide charge after the boy was thrown off a nearly 40-foot balcony.

Hennepin County prosecutors are expected to press charges Monday.

An update to the GoFundMe page said Landen “had a peaceful sleep [in the hospital] and is still continuing to fight his courageous battle; he’s a strong survivor!”

“We do not believe that the suspect knew the family or the victim. [From] our investigative work and witnesses that we’ve spoken to — we feel confident saying the suspect threw the child off the third floor,” Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said during a press conference Saturday. “But as to why he did that — it’s still something we’re looking into and trying to figure out.”

Court documents cited by Minnesota Public Radio News reveal the suspect previously pleaded guilty to a July 2015 gross misdemeanor charge of interfering with a peace officer in connection with an incident “where he was seen throwing objects from the upper level off the mall.”

“The mall assault suspect was [also] convicted of property damage for smashing five computers at Sumner Library in Minneapolis in August of 2015, causing about $5,000 in damage,” MPR added Sunday. “The man was again charged with misdemeanor assault in 2017 and failed to appear at a hearing. He had an outstanding warrant for his arrest at the time he allegedly assaulted the boy at the Mall of America.”

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