Mom of Man Who Threw Boy off Mall of America Balcony Says He Is Mentally Ill
"We were really shocked," said mom Becky Aranda. "We had no idea that his illness would drive him to doing this."
The mother of the man who hurled a little boy over a railing at Mall of America in Minnesota says her son has struggled with mental illness all his life.
Five-year-old Landen Hoffmann was seriously injured when he fell 40 feet to the ground after being thrown from the third-floor balcony at the Bloomington mall in April. The man who threw Landen, 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda, was later apprehended at the mall’s light rail train station.
Aranda allegedly told authorities he had made efforts to talk with women at the mall that day, but after being rejected, he lashed out and became aggressive, according to a criminal complaint.
He pleaded guilty to attempted murder on Tuesday. His sentencing is set for June 3.
Becky Aranda, Emmanuel's mother, said the family was worried that something like this might happen after she claims he shoved his sister days before the Mall of America incident.
"He told me that he had shoved her, which is something that he had never done before," Becky told reporters. "She immediately called the police and explained to the police about his mental situation and that they needed to locate him immediately before he did something like this to somebody else."
She continued: "They never located him. Three days later, we read on the news that he had threw this little boy over balcony."
According to Becky, her son has "had a condition since he was a little boy."
Still, Becky never expected things to go as far as they did.
"We were shocked," she said. "We were really shocked. We had no idea that his illness would drive him to doing this."
She added that she's praying for Landen and his family.
Emmanuel Aranda allegedly has a history of troubling behavior at the mall, which is the U.S.'s largest, drawing 40 million shoppers annually.
On July 4, 2015, he was allegedly seen throwing things off the upper level of the shopping center. That same year, he was accused of throwing glasses in a restaurant. He was banned from the mall for an entire year.
Landen, meanwhile, is on the mend. A GoFundMe page for the boy has raised over $1 million for his treatment and his family hopes he will be released from the hospital by June.
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