April 12, 2019, is a day 5-year-old Landen Hoffman and his family won’t soon forget. A day out at Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America went wrong. Unfortunately for Landen, evil lurked in the mall that day.
24-year-old Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, a frequent visitor at the mall, was there. One might think Aranda came for the shopping, but that was not the case. Instead, he came to connect romantically with women and would turn nasty when rebuffed. His history of misbehavior at the mall included an arrest in 2015 for throwing items from the top floor. A few months later, he threw drinks on a woman who refused to buy him a gift.
However, the assault on Landen was shockingly brutal. Aranda, enraged over his inability to attract women at the mall, wanted revenge. Initially, he planned to throw an adult over, but the opportunity never presented itself.
Landen, hanging out on the mall’s third-story balcony, never saw him coming. Aranda charged, lifting the child and throwing him over the balcony’s rails. Landen fell some forty feet as shocked bystanders tried desperately to stop Aranda as he fled. Amazingly, Landen survived the fall. Police later apprehended Aranda on a light-rail train.
Noah Hanneman, a family friend, started a GoFundMe account and continues to give updates on Landen’s condition. Although the family has asked for privacy, Hanneman says they are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and support. Landen is strong, they say, and continues to fight this courageous battle. Our prayers are with Landen and his family.
It is said what goes around comes around, but Landen didn’t suffer this atrocious act because of anything he did. Suffering is a fact of life. The truth is, God can turn any and every bad thing for our good and His purpose. What is meant to destroy us can make us stronger.