Fundraiser for 5-year-old gets national attention and raises over half a million dollars to help with medical costs
Written By: Michae’ Baisden
The kindness and charity of strangers have garnered over $600,000 for the young boy who was the victim of a senseless act of violence at the Mall of America.
The GoFundMe page was created by a family friend for the boy’s family to help them “cover the immense medical costs and rehabilitation costs for the long ahead.”
“He suffered life-threatening injuries,” the page stated. “Many people who fall from that distance aren’t as lucky to make it. He has many surgeries ahead in his life to try to get back to a normal life for a young, vibrant boy.”
According to the police records, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda allegedly said he was trying to make advances at women inside the mall but was continuously rejected, that’s when he got hostile, agitated and aggressive.
Police said Aranda’s plan was to kill an adult because they usually stand near the balcony, but that did not work out, so he chose the young boy instead.
As of Monday evening, 18,603 went into their wallets to support the young boy. Most donations didn’t exceed $50, but with thousands of well-wishers the numbers quickly added up.
The family friend updated the GoFundMe page three times telling the supporters, “The family cannot express how grateful they are for all of the prayers, love, and support that they are receiving. There truly aren’t enough words!”
However, it does not look like much has changed for the boy’s health.
“His condition has very little change at this point, but we are hoping to get some good news back from some upcoming tests in the next few days,” the page reported. “The family is continuing to request privacy during this time. Please continue to keep Landen in your thoughts and prayers; together we can all come together to help heal Landen!”
Last Friday, Aranda, 24, was arrested after critically injuring a 5-year-old boy after he threw him 40-feet off the top of the third-floor balcony at Minnesota’s Mall Of America.
According to PennLive, on Friday morning the boy was taken to the hospital with “significant injuries” from the 40-foot fall, authorities said and was still being treated 24 hours later.
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“Immediately, my thoughts were: how can something like this happen?” said Police Chief Jeffrey Potts at a news conference Saturday.
Aranda has been charged with potential homicide. Aranda has a history of erratic and violent behavior. Previously he received two trespass notices which banned him from the Mall of America, according to CNN’s affiliate WCCO.
The boy’s mother was there during the time of the attack. Witnesses say she asked everyone to pray.
“She was screaming, ‘Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge,'” Brian Johnson told WCCO.
Watch WCCO’s coverage of the incident here.
Aranda’s reported history of criminal behavior began in July of 2015 when he was taken into custody after authorities received a call about a “black male throwing things off of the upper level of the mall to the lower level.” The report also says Aranda initially refused arrest and did not give his name to police.