(Gray News/AP) - The 5-year-old boy who was thrown off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America is improving, according to a family statement to Minnesota Public Radio.
“We have good news to share with you on this Good Friday,” Stephen Tillitt, a lawyer for the family, said in the statement to the media. “Our miracle child is showing real signs of recovery. New test results have been positive, though he remains in intensive care with a long road ahead.”
“We continue our appeal for privacy as we focus on our son and thank you for respecting our wishes,” the statement read. “Just know that we absolutely feel your overwhelming love, prayers and support for they seem to be working.”
The family’s pastor, Mac Hammond, said during a Good Friday sermon that the boy named Landen had a five-hour MRI.
He also told the congregation that doctors described his injuries as if he fell off a bike instead of the third floor of the mall - almost 40 feet. The boy suffered broken bones, and Hammond claims doctors said there weren’t any spinal cord injuries or swelling of the brain.
The child’s family has asked for privacy. A GoFundMe page set up and is nearly at $1 million.
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder. He told police he was angry at being rejected by women at the Minnesota mall and was “looking for someone to kill,” according to a criminal complaint.
Aranda did not know the family before he picked up the boy and threw him over the balcony.
Aranda has two past convictions for assaults at the mall, both in 2015, including one in which he threw a glass of water and glass of tea at a woman who refused to buy him something. Aranda at one point was banned from the mall.
Court records show that Aranda had been ordered to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment after the earlier mall assaults.
The boy's mother told police that Aranda came up very close to her group as they stood outside the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. She said she asked him if they were in his way and should move, and he picked up the child without warning and threw him off the balcony, according to the complaint.
Police caught Aranda on a light rail train at the mall waiting for it to leave. They said he admitted throwing the child from the balcony and said he had come to the mall a day earlier seeking to kill someone but it did not "work out." Aranda originally said he planned to kill an adult before choosing the child instead, the complaint said.
“Defendant indicated he had been coming to the mall for several years and had made efforts to talk to women in the mall, but had been rejected, and the rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive,” the complaint said.