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National
Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony making ‘small steps’ toward healing
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Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony making ‘small steps’ toward healing

Boy Thrown from Third-Floor Balcony of Mall of America Making "Small Steps" Towards Recovery

Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony making ‘small steps’ toward healing

The family of a 5-year-old boy thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America last week says he is making “small steps” as he recovers from his devastating injuries.

Landen Hoffman was shopping with his mother and friends around 10:15 a.m. April 12 when Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is accused of picking the boy up and hurling him over a railing to the first floor nearly 40 feet below. Aranda tried to run, but police, with help from witnesses, found him on a light rail train at the mall and took him into custody. 

>> Read more trending news

“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,” a GoFundMe page set up to help with Landen’s medical bills states. As of Friday morning, the page had raised more than $870,000 of its $1 million goal. 

Landen, who suffered broken arms and legs and significant head trauma, was initially in critical condition, according to the criminal complaint against Aranda. His condition has since stabilized, but he has a long road to recovery, the GoFundMe page reads

“(His) condition is again similar to previous days. Another peaceful night of sleep -- small steps towards the healing process. Each new day is a good day,” the page read Thursday

“Landen's recovery is expected to be ongoing for a long time. While it’s hard to estimate costs, this will change everything for their family and require much of their time and focus.”

Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Aranda is being held in the Hennepin County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond. 

>> Related story: Man who threw 5-year-old from third floor of Mall of America intended to kill someone, police say

“This crime has shocked the community,” Freeman said in a news release. “That a child, with his mother at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone. Our victim advocates are working with the family during this very difficult time for them. We charged Mr. Aranda with the most severe crime that the evidence allowed.”

Bloomington police Chief Jeff Potts said during a news conference Saturday that Aranda was cooperative with detectives. The criminal complaint indicates that Aranda confessed to committing the brazen assault. 

Read the criminal complaint against Emmanuel Aranda below.


“This is a horrific situation,” Potts said. “The family and this child are in our thoughts and prayers. I know the family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers they can get on this case.”

The Hoffman family issued a statement through Freeman’s office showing appreciation for the outpouring of support from the community but requesting privacy as Landen recovers from his life-threatening injuries. 

Mall of America officials also praised the outpouring of support.

“We are grateful for the efforts of all the first responders involved -- including guests and tenants -- for their immediate actions and the outpouring of concern shown by so many for this young child and his family,” a statement read. “For those who have left gifts, flowers and messages of love at the mall, we thank you. Please know we will keep these items safe and handle them according to the family’s wishes.”

The criminal complaint says Aranda told police he had gone to the mall on April 11 intending to kill an adult, but that it did not “work out.” He returned to the mall the next day. 

“He said he planned to kill an adult because they usually stand near the balcony, but he chose the victim instead,” the document reads. 

Aranda told investigators he chose to kill out of frustration over years of rejection from the opposite sex. 

“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,” the complaint says. “The rejection caused him to lash out and be aggressive.” 

Aranda admitted he knew what he did was wrong.

“Defendant acknowledged repeatedly in his interview that he had planned and intended to kill someone at the mall that day, and that he was aware that what he was doing was wrong,” the document says

According to the criminal complaint, surveillance camera footage shows Aranda walking on the third floor of the mall and looking over the balcony several times before approaching Landen and his mother. 

Bloomington Police Department
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is accused of picking up Landen Hoffman, 5, and hurling the boy over a third-floor railing to the first floor at the Mall of America the morning of Friday, April 12, 2019, in Bloomington, Minnesota. Landen, who fell nearly 40 feet, suffered broken arms and legs and significant head trauma. Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the case.
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Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony making ‘small steps’ toward healing

Photo Credit: Bloomington Police Department
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is accused of picking up Landen Hoffman, 5, and hurling the boy over a third-floor railing to the first floor at the Mall of America the morning of Friday, April 12, 2019, in Bloomington, Minnesota. Landen, who fell nearly 40 feet, suffered broken arms and legs and significant head trauma. Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the case.

Landen’s mother told detectives she saw Aranda approach and stand very close to her and her son, the newspaper reported. She asked him if he needed them to move.

“Without warning, defendant picked up the victim and threw him off the third floor balcony in front of (Landen’s mother) and several other witnesses, including children,” the complaint states

Witnesses told the Minneapolis Star Tribune they heard screaming after the boy went over the railing.

“Oh my God! Pray for my son!” Landen’s mother begged, witnesses told the newspaper

Potts said Saturday that Aranda previously was arrested at the Mall of America. Officers were called there in July 2015 after Aranda was seen throwing an object from the third floor. 

“When the officers tried to speak with him, he became … he was not cooperative,” Potts said. 

Aranda was charged in that incident with obstruction, disorderly conduct and damage to property, the chief said. 

Watch the update from Bloomington police Chief Jeff Potts below. 

He was also accused of trespassing at the mall previously after he threw a glass of water in a woman’s face and destroyed property, the criminal complaint says. It was not clear if that was the same incident Potts spoke about during his news conference. 

Aranda had been banned from the mall, but apparently ignored the ban. 

Aranda next came in contact with Bloomington police officers at a local restaurant, where he refused to pay his bill, Potts said. In a third 2015 incident, Aranda was accused of throwing a glass at a worker at a different restaurant. 

He was charged with fifth-degree assault, trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process in the third case. That was the last contact Bloomington officers had with Aranda prior to the alleged assault at the mall last week. 

The Star Tribune reported that Aranda was also previously arrested for smashing computers at a public library in Minneapolis. At that time, he told arresting officers he has “anger issues,” the newspaper said. 

Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is accused of picking up Landen Hoffman, 5, and hurling the boy over a third-floor railing to the first floor at the Mall of America, pictured, the morning of Friday, April 12, 2019, in Bloomington, Minnesota. Landen, who fell nearly 40 feet, suffered broken arms and legs and significant head trauma. Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the case.
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Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony making ‘small steps’ toward healing

Photo Credit: Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is accused of picking up Landen Hoffman, 5, and hurling the boy over a third-floor railing to the first floor at the Mall of America, pictured, the morning of Friday, April 12, 2019, in Bloomington, Minnesota. Landen, who fell nearly 40 feet, suffered broken arms and legs and significant head trauma. Aranda is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder in the case.

Court records indicate Aranda has a string of arrests and convictions in Minnesota, as well as charges of assault and theft in Illinois, the Star Tribune reported. The criminal complaint indicates he had an outstanding warrant for assault in Illinois. 

Judges have repeatedly ordered him to undergo mental health treatment, as well as to abstain from alcohol and drugs, the newspaper reported

Prosecutors are taking Aranda’s latest Mall of America attack very seriously. 

“The state intends to pursue an aggravated sentence based on particular cruelty to the victim, particular vulnerability of the victim and the commission of the act in the presence of other children and the victim’s mother,” the criminal complaint says

The Mall of America website states that the facility “holds itself to the highest standards” when it comes to its security. It has 175 security officers on the payroll. 

“We pride ourselves on our high caliber officers, training and forward-thinking attitude,” the webpage reads. “We take a holistic approach with our industry leading programs and practices which include bike patrol, K-9 units, special operations plain clothes officers, a state-of-the art dispatch center, parental escort policy, crisis planning and lockdown drills.

“We are a unique property and we protect it as such.”

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

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As of Tuesday morning, Fred Sommerville remained in the Pickens County Jail on charges of abuse of a corpse, attempt to elude, first-degree theft of property and reckless endangerment. He is expected to be transferred to Limestone County, at which point he will face a charge of first-degree murder for the murder of two or more people. Blakely said along with the slaying of his estranged wife, Fred Sommerville is also a suspect in the Thursday night killing of Bruce Cosman, 74, of Ardmore, Alabama. The News Courier in Athens reported that Cosman and his wife were inside their home around 7:30 p.m. Thursday when they heard suspicious noises outside. Cosman went outside to investigate the noises and his wife heard gunshots. According to the newspaper, Cosman was shot multiple times, dying in the yard. Blakely said Monday that investigators have evidence placing Fred Sommerville at Cosman’s home at the time of the shooting. He did not say what that evidence is. “There’s a lot of things we can’t go into at this time because it’s still an ongoing investigation,” Blakely said. He said a lot more legwork needs to be done in the case, but he is confident that the killer is in custody. Blakely said one reason he held the news conference was to calm the fears of residents in Ardmore. “We don’t have a murderer running loose up there in Ardmore. We have the person. He is in custody,” Blakely said. “We’re very confident he is the one that murdered Mr. Bruce.” >> Read more trending news  The timeline of the killing of Lakresha Sommerville is still not nailed down, Blakely said. He told reporters Monday that the victim’s mother reported her missing, with a possible kidnapping by her estranged husband, late Thursday night. Fred Sommerville was apprehended in Pickens County, in the town of Aliceville, around 11 a.m. Friday. Lakresha Sommerville had obviously been dead for hours at that point, the sheriff said. Blakely said there is no indication Fred Sommerville knew Cosman or his family. “We have some theories and possibly some evidence that’s going to indicate why he wound up at that residence, but we’re not prepared to discuss those at this time,” Blakely said. Watch the entire news conference with Limestone County officials below.  It was unclear why Fred Sommerville drove to Pickens County, though investigators said he has an uncle who lives there. Blakely said Sommerville also drove through other areas of Alabama for hours before his capture. The News Courier reported Fred Sommerville was caught after Aliceville police officers, who had heard reports regarding Lakresha Sommerville’s missing vehicle, spotted him downtown and attempted to pull him over. The officers ultimately fired at the car to stop it, the newspaper reported. 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She wrote that Fred Sommerville did not care about the boy, who, according to Lakresha Sommerville's Facebook page, turned 13 earlier this year. 'All you care about is Fred and if it's not about Fred, then it ain't about nothing,' Surles wrote. On July 2, Fred Sommerville posted that he was in a domestic partnership with Lakresha, who appeared to express surprise at the relationship status. A friend asked Fred if he was OK. Fred Sommerville wrote that he had some business to take care of. 'This (expletive) the reason y,' he wrote, indicating his estranged wife. Other friends wrote that Lakresha Sommerville was not the source of his problems and urged him to accept that the relationship was over. On Friday, a woman named Stacey Smith commented on the status, along with several others on the Facebook page, telling those who saw her posts that Fred and Lakresha Sommerville were missing. 'No one has heard from them since yesterday afternoon,' Smith wrote. 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'Just being honest I'm not living my best life yet, but if it's in God's will, I'm on my way,' she wrote. She wrote that she was looking forward to new and exciting things and a drama and stress-free year. 'May Chapter 39 be the best year yet!' she wrote.
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Washington Insider

  • The White House on Tuesday defended the details of a major budget deal worked out between President Donald Trump and Democrats in the Congress, even as conservative groups and some GOP lawmakers denounced it as a budget boondoggle which would only increase spending and further raise deficits and debt. 'This deal on the discretionary spending caps is nothing short of a surrender by Republican “leadership” in the House and Senate and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,' said the group Freedom Works. The plan would raise spending levels to $320 billion more than the budget caps in current law for 2020 and 2021 - though the actual increase in spending from 2019 would be much less. With no briefings at the White House, the public argument on behalf of the deal was carried in the rain on Tuesday by the President's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. On Capitol Hill, Republicans said it was the best deal possible. 'In a compromise, neither side gets 100 percent of what they want,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). But the details produced a lot of grumbling from GOP lawmakers in the House, who want to see less spending - not more. 'The spending deal before us would continue Washington’s reckless spending with an unlimited line of credit,' said Rep. Mark Green (R-TN). 'This deal irresponsibly jacks up spending by $320 billion,' said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who complained 'this deal just kicks the can down the road again.' 'This proposal digs the US deeper into debt,' said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who said it was hard for budget haws to support a deal that adds more money to the deficit. 'Our credit card is maxed out,' said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC). 'What this budget deal does is ask the credit card company for another $320 billion in credit.' A House vote is expected on the plan by Friday, with Senate action expected next week. Lawmakers needed to act now - before going home on an extended summer break - because Trump Administration officials were worried that the debt limit needed to be expanded soon after Labor Day.