‘Angels caught him’: Mom recalls moment son was thrown off Mall of America balcony

‘Angels caught him’: Mom recalls moment son was thrown off Mall of America balcony

By Isabel Keane

The mom of the boy who was viciously tossed off a balcony at the Mall of America emotionally recalled the horrific attack for the first time on Wednesday — crediting his miraculous survival to “angels.”

Kari Hoffman described witnessing the shocking incident, in which a random attacker, Emmanuel Aranda, 24, threw her son Landon from a third-floor balcony at the famed mall in Bloomington, Minnesota, in April 2019.

She said she had taken her then-5-year-old son and one of his friends to the mall as treat following a parent-teacher conference when she noticed a stranger speaking to the boys.

“We were just looking at the alligator at the Rainforest Café, and a stranger came up and was whispering to these two little boys. And I thought that he was gonna turn this alligator on for them,” Hoffman told “Good Morning America.”

“He snatched [Landen] and ran. And I was just frozen … It happened so fast. I screamed, ‘No!’ after he was already thrown.”

Hoffmann said she has chosen to forgive Aranda.

She added, “I don’t even remember running down the escalators, but I was screaming the whole time, ‘No, Landen’s not gonna die.’”

As a crowd quickly circled in on the horrifying scene, Hoffmann asked those surrounding her to pray.

“I don’t care who was looking. If they were looking, I asked them to pray,” she said. “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.”

Aranda was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

She added, “angels caught him, there’s no denying it.”

Landon Hoffmann, now 8 years old, broke both of his arms, a leg and suffered fractures to his face and skull.

Following the harrowing incident, he was immediately rushed to the hospital for emergency brain trauma surgery.

Hoffman is now 8-years-old.

Three and a half years after the random attack, Hoffmann told GMA that “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.”

Aranda, who threw the boy over the balcony, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in May 2019. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the attack.

The crazed Minnesota man was reportedly banned from the mall on two other instances and told police he was “looking for someone to kill” when he tossed Landon off the balcony.

Hoffmann said she has chosen to forgive 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 Landon.”

Last year the Hoffmann family settled a lawsuit with the Mall of America and said they were working together on policy changes that would ensure a similar incident would never happen again.


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