On Tuesday, the man who viciously threw a 5-year-old boy from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America on April 12 made a plea deal with the court. His sentence? 19 years in prison.
Emmanuel Aranda of Minneapolis pled guilty to attempted premeditated first-degree murder while prosecutors eschewed adding an aggravated circumstances aspect to the charges; that would have added one more year to the sentence.
According to Bloomington police, Aranda, 24, approached Landen Hoffmann, 5, and his mother, who were standing outside the Rainforest Cafe on the third floor, when Aranda allegedly asked if he was in their way. When Landen's mother said no, Aranda grabbed the little boy and threw him over the balcony, according to witnesses. While Landen’s mother screamed, a bystander tried to catch Aranda, who pushed him aside and ran from the scene before police caught him on the light-rail train near the mall. Video of the incident was captured on security cameras. The child, who fell 40 feet, suffered head trauma and multiple broken bones but survived.
According to The Daily Mail, “Aranda allegedly told police that he went to the mall looking for someone to kill as revenge for being rejected by women there for several years.” The criminal complaint stated that Aranda informed police he had repeatedly been rejected over the years by women at the mall and that was the motivation for the attack.
Aranda had been previously convicted in 2015 for obstruction of the legal process/interfering with a peace officer as well as fifth-degree assault, trespassing and damage to property. The Daily Mail added, “Police said there is also a warrant for Aranda's arrest in Illinois for assault stemming from an incident at a Chicago restaurant when he allegedly threatened to slit a employee's neck.”
The GoFundMe website for Landen stated:
This is Landen, he is the sweetest kindest 5 year old you will ever meet. His soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets. He is full of energy and life and enjoys soccer, playing with friends and family and playing hockey with his brother and sister. 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.
Landen has a very long road to recovery ahead of him. He suffered life threatening injuries, 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. We started this GoFundMe for their family to help cover the immense medical costs and rehabilitation costs for the long ahead. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to hear about their story.
On April 22, the GoFundMe site gave an update from a Fox9 news article quoting Mac Hammond, a pastor at the Hoffmann family’s church. After Hoffmann had a five-hour MRI test, Hammond said, “There was zero evidence of brain damage - there wasn't even swelling. No spinal chord injury, no nerve damage, no internal injuries that were life-threatening." Hammond added Hoffman had several broken bones. The boy reportedly had his spleen removed.
KSTP reported Aranda's uncle stated of his nephew, "He has a serious mental problem, he was diagnosed as a child ... I pray for the mom and the family because this is—I can't even imagine how she feels. ... We are going to pray for that baby because what happened is so unfortunate, but it's going to bring light to mental illness, I hope he doesn't go to jail; he needs help."'