"Listening to him breathing with the machine's beeping was the best sound I've ever heard in my life," she said. "Because that meant he was alive."
In 2019, in a senseless attack three years ago, a 5-year-old boy was thrown from the 3rd floor of the Mall of America in Minnesota by a then 24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda. The innocent 5-year-old sustained severe head trauma and multiple broken bones because of the incident. The perpetrator charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder pleaded guilty in May of the same year and is spending 19 years in prison. At the time a GoFundMe was set up for the family by a close friend who called the family "so generous to others, they give without expecting anything in return and are the type of family you always hope to live next door." Now, Landen Hoffmann is 8 years old and his mother is speaking out about his journey to recovery.
The mother of a boy who was thrown over a balcony at the Mall of America speaks exclusively with @GMA, calling her son's recovery a "miracle.” https://t.co/7F9p3cPgl0— ABC News (@ABC) December 15, 2022
Kari Hoffmann described the terrifying incident to Good Morning America telling the outlet that felt "frozen in time" until she felt she was able to open up about it. She admitted that the family had to go through a lot of healing before being vulnerable with their story. "Now is the time that is right in our lives where we've done a lotta healing, where it's time to move forward with the story of the miracle of Landen," she said. Describing the horrifying moment her son was whisked away right in front of her, she recalled, "We were just looking at the alligator at the Rainforest Café, and a stranger came up and was whispering to these two little boys (Landen and one of his friends). And I thought that he was gonna turn this alligator on for them," said Hoffmann. "He snatched (Landen) and ran. And I was just frozen … It happened so fast. I screamed, 'No!' after he was already thrown. I don't even remember running down the escalators, but I was screaming the whole time, 'No, Landen's not gonna die,' " she added.
'The miracle of Landen': Mom whose son was thrown off a balcony at Mall of America speaks out https://t.co/t0ZSurX6gQ— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) December 14, 2022
As a crowd of people gathered the terrified mom urged them all to pray. "I don't care who was looking. If they were looking, I asked them to pray," she said. The prayers seemed to work as emergency responders took her young son into an ambulance he showed signs of life. "He's got a heartbeat. He was breathing. We got in the ambulance, and right before they shut the door, he opened his eyes for a second."
He was immediately rushed to the emergency brain trauma surgery. When he was on the operating table, the doctor assured he was going to be Ok. "Listening to him breathing with the machine's beeping was the best sound I've ever heard in my life," said Hoffmann. "Because that meant he was alive."
#BREAKING: Here's our first look at the man who Bloomington Police say is being held on attempted homicide charges for intentionally throwing or pushing a 5-year-old boy from the third floor of Mall of America Friday. He is Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of the metro area. @KSTP pic.twitter.com/ybAq1x8xWQ— Matt Belanger (@MattBelangerTV) April 12, 2019
The young boy had to be in the hospital for four months to slowly recover. According to ABC News, the perpetrator threw the young boy down 40 feet because he was "looking for someone to kill, but it did not 'work out,'" according to a probable cause document. He told investigators he came up with a plan to "kill someone at the mall" after he became angry because women at the mall had rejected him.
Hoffmann said she's forgiven Aranda because "it's a decision that you have to make so that God can do what he needs to do in your life ... and that was to save Landen." As for Landen, he loves Hockey and is surrounded by people who adore him. "Angels caught him, there's no denying it," she said. "Yes, he had injuries, and we had to live through all of this pain to get to the end. But sometimes God allows us to go through things to teach us something."
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Good Morning America