The 5-year-old who was hospitalized earlier this month after a stranger threw him off the third-floor balcony at the Mall of America is now improving and out of critical condition.
The boy, named Landen, is now “alert and conscious,” according to a family statement read by their lawyer, Stephen Tillitt, at a news conference on Friday.
“All praise, glory and honor to Jesus! He saved our son’s life and is healing him in the most miraculous ways,” the statement said, according to CNN. “We are so elated to let you know that our son is now alert and conscious and is no longer in critical condition!”
Landen had suffered serious injuries, including massive head trauma, on April 12, when a man later identified by police as 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda hurled him off the interior third-floor balcony of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Aranda has been charged with attempted first-degree murder. Police said that Aranda, who did not know Landen previously, told them he went to the mall that day planning to kill someone. He also allegedly blamed his actions on rejection from women, saying that women at the mall rejecting him when he tried to talk to them had “caused him to lash out and be aggressive.”
Landen’s mother told police that Aranda had come up and stood very close to her and her son, and she asked him if he wanted them to move out of the way. That was when Aranda allegedly grabbed the boy and threw him over the balcony before fleeing the scene.
Aranda’s attorney, public defender Paul Sellers, told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that Aranda had struggled with mental health issues and suggested that efforts should focus on making comprehensive mental health care more accessible.
“You wonder whether things could be prevented if we spent more on mental health treatment on the front end and mental health options on the front end, instead of always just waiting for bad things to happen and seeking retributive justice,” Sellers said.