A fundraiser to help cover medical costs for a 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in a random attack has now topped $350,000.
Landen Hoffman suffered life-threatening injuries when a stranger allegedly threw the boy from the balcony on Friday. Police arrested Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda for the attack, which they believe was random. People from across the country have now come together to support the family, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to a GoFundMe campaign and leaving hundreds of supportive messages for the family.
The campaign was launched by April Hoffman, Landen’s cousin, who wrote a message asking people to pray for the boy. The campaign flew past its initial goal of $250,000 in just a few hours, and it has since been updated to aim for $500,000. The campaign was growing at a rate of several thousands of dollars an hour on Sunday morning,
The campaign noted that Landen is a happy boy, beloved by everyone around him.
“He is full of energy and life and enjoys soccer, playing with friends and family and playing hockey with his brother and sister,” a note on the GoFundMe page read.
Witnesses inside the Minneapolis mall said they heard a woman screaming and saw the boy laying on the ground in a pool of blood.
“She was screaming, ‘Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge,'” witness Brian Johnson told WCCO.
As the WCCO report noted, Aranda had a history of incidents at the Mall of America, including two in 2015 that led him to being banned. That July, Aranda was accused of damaging stores and throwing items off a balcony at a lower level. In October of that year, he was arrested for allegedly throwing water at a woman who had refused to buy food for him.
The attack was decried by police, and the Mall of America also released a statement offering thoughts for the boy and his family.
“This was a senseless act and words cannot truly express our profound shock and sadness,” the Mall of America said in a statement on Friday. “Our immediate and only concern is for the well-being of the family and the child, as well as for any individuals who may have witnessed the incident.”
The latest update from the GoFundMe is that he's in stable condition.https://t.co/5TPCO5ZoNw— Jones McFly (❤️) (@ScienceHoffman) April 14, 2019
An update from the GoFundMe page said that Landen was listed in stable condition, which seems to be an improvement from Friday, when the injuries were described as life-threatening.