MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time, we’re hearing from those who rushed to help a young boy tossed off a third-floor balcony at Mall of America.
More than two dozen first responders, law enforcement professionals and civilians were honored Thursday night in Bloomington for their efforts to help the victim — 5-year-old Landen — and catch the man who attacked him.
Lashone Caldwell was working at the mall the day of the attack.
“[Suspect Emmanuel Aranda] literally ran right past me. I saw his eyes, I saw him pick Landen up, throw him over,” Caldwell said. “I saw the suspect even walk to the balcony to look to see, and that’s when he took off. So he didn’t take off until he started to hear the screams.”
Three-stories below, bystanders were rendering Landen aid, until Bloomington Fire Department Captain Brent Carlson arrived with two other first responders.
“[Landen’s mother was] understandably very upset and frantic, and trying to get her to calm down a little bit was very challenging. That’s one of the things I tried to do a little bit. You can’t always do that,” Carlson said. “From the time the medic crew got on scene until the time [Landen] left was 10 minutes, which is remarkable.”
Caldwell immediately closed up her shop and ran to find the first officer she could to identify the suspect.
“There was no expression. It was very, it was almost, if you will, in a biblical sense, it was almost like a demonic being. His eyes were just very … there was no emotion,” Caldwell said.
Both Caldwell and Carlson were honored Wednesday evening, along with other heroes of that day.
“It’s very overwhelming for me because I just did what I felt anybody would do,” Caldwell said.
That day at the mall has made an impact on their lives.
“The biggest change for me came with my faith, and the power of prayer is truly amazing,” she said.
An announcement on Landen’s GoFundMe page Tuesday said that he’s in “good spirits,” and is still continuing his path to recovery.