The family of a boy injured after being thrown off the third-floor balcony of the Mall of America has declined to comment on their son’s condition, despite claims by the family’s pastor that tests showed he suffered “zero evidence of brain damage.”
Stephen Tillitt, an attorney representing the family, told The Star Tribune he could neither confirm or deny the pastor’s Easter Sunday claims.
“The family is in a position where any comment to confirm or deny would be intruding on the realm of privacy they want,” he said. “To start going into details of any kind, confirming or denying, means that the privacy has been intruded upon.”
Tillitt did say that 5-year-old Landen continues to be under sedation in intensive care and that further tests are expected, but was cautious to reveal too many details because “the family realizes that what’s public today will be public in 20 years,” he said.
Pastor Mac Hammond, who preaches at the church where the boy’s grandparents attend, told the congregation on Sunday that a five-hour MRI showed no signs of brain damage in Landen, who was shopping with his mother when a man later identified as Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, allegedly picked him up and threw him over the balcony.
“There wasn’t even any swelling in the brain. No spinal cord injury, no nerve damage, no internal injuries that were life threatening,” he said in the sermon posted on the Living Word Christian Center’s Facebook page.
He also claimed that physicians compared the injuries to more like a fall from a bicycle rather than a nearly 40-foot fall from the third-level of the shopping mall; however, Tillitt later clarified to the local paper that comment referred to the boy’s facial injuries rather than his overall condition.
Tillitt also read a statement from the boy’s family which thanked the community for their prayers and support.
“We have an important week ahead with more milestones to accomplish,” they said. “God’s hand is working. Your prayers are working.”
Aranda has been charged with attempted pre-meditated first-degree homicide in the April 12 attack and is being held on a $2 million bond.
He reportedly told investigators he had gone to the mall that day “looking for someone to kill” because he was angry that he had been rejected by women at the mall in the past, according to The Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.