'Alert and conscious': Boy thrown from Mall of America balcony continues to heal

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Photo credit Zariah Hicks

The five-year-old boy who police say was thrown from the third level of the Mall of America is now "alert and conscious," according to a family representative.

Stephen Tillitt read a statement from the family in a phone conference with the media Friday afternoon. 

"All praise and glory and honor to Jesus," read Stephen Tillitt, the representative. "He saved our son’s life and is healing him in the most miraculous ways."

The boy is no longer in critical condition, but will face future surgeries.

"We are now turning our focus to additional surgeries, healing, rehabilitation and eventually a return home, which we hope will happen by June," read Tillitt. "We want to thank each and every one of you for your love, prayers and support."

On the morning of Friday, April 12, the boy and his mother were at the mall with a friend and their child. They were outside the Rainforest Café when a stranger approached them, picked up Landen and threw him over the balcony. 

The boy fell approximately 39 feet, according to police. Officers rendered aid to him and he was taken to Children’s Hospital. 

The suspect, 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda, was arrested a short time later while waiting for the light rail train at the mall. He is charged with first-degree attempted premeditated murder.

Aranda told police he had gone to the mall the day before looking for an adult to kill, but it did not work out, the charges say. He returned the following day and chose the 5-year-old boy instead. 

A GoFundMe for the victim has now raised more than $1 million.