MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The family of a 5-year-old boy thrown from a Mall of America balcony says he is “continuing to fight his courageous battle.”
Police say he fell nearly 40 feet after a man threw him off the balcony Friday.
Now, relatives of 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who is in custody on a suspicion of attempted homicide charge, are speaking out.
“It’s gut-wrenching. I can’t believe this happened,” Aranda’s uncle said. “I’m at a loss for words.”
From Philadelphia, Aranda’s uncle says his family’s thoughts are with the little boy fighting to survive.
“They’re the ones suffering right now. I can’t even imagine what the mom is going through,” he said.
As of 10 p.m. Sunday, more than $500,000 has been raised for the 5-year-old named Landen. A family friend posted in the GoFundMe campaign Sunday morning to thank people for their donations and prayers.
“The family has asked for continued privacy during this time, but we want to keep everybody updated to how Landen is doing. He had a peaceful sleep and is still continuing to fight his courageous battle, he’s a strong survivor,” the update reads.
At the mall, shoppers have left a growing pile of toys and teddy bears.
His uncle said Aranda’s mom tried to get him help.
“My nephew he had mental problems for a long time, for a very long time,” Aranda’s uncle said. “He needed help for a really long time.”
His uncle says Aranda moved to Minnesota to be closer to his sister.
Formal charges against Aranda are expected to be filed as soon as Monday.
“We’re all praying for that mom because we can’t imagine what she’s going through. We just can’t imagine what she’s going through. Praying for her and her family period. We’re doing that,” Aranda’s uncle said.