5-Year-Old Boy Who Was Thrown Off Mall of America Balcony Is 'Continuing to Fight' for His Life

"He is the sweetest kindest 5-year-old you will ever meet. He instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets," a family friend described the child

Photo: Mark Erickson/Getty Images

The 5-year-old child, who was pushed or thrown off the balcony of a Mall of America in Minnesota, continues to fight for his life.

The boy, named Landen, was critically injured after being pushed or thrown by a 24-year-old man from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in Bloomington on Friday, according to police.

“The family is looking forward to continued privacy during this difficult time and we are definitely welcoming all thoughts and prayers at this point,” a spokesperson for the child’s family tells PEOPLE.

A GoFundMe page was started by the child’s family friend to help cover the “immense” medical and rehabilitation costs.

On Sunday, the family friend shared the latest update on how Landen is recovering.

“He had a peaceful sleep and is still continuing to fight his courageous battle, he’s a strong survivor!” the family friend wrote.

Landen is in “stable condition, contrary to the rumors and attention seekers out there stating that he has passed,” according to an update shared on the GoFundMe page Saturday.

“You have no idea what they have been through and we are asking for everyone to respect their wishes. Thank you again for all of your support, we are truly gracious to be surrounded by a community that reaches out to help those in need,” the family friend said.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.Following the incident, witness Brian Johnson told local TV station WCCO that the child’s mother “was screaming, ‘Everyone pray, everyone pray. Oh my God, my baby, someone threw him over the edge.’ “

The child and suspect did not know each other and investigators are “actively trying to figure out why this occurred,” Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts told reporters, according to the Pioneer Press.

Mall of America main entrance. Image shot 12/2013. Exact date unknown.

“He is the sweetest kindest 5-year-old you will ever meet. His soul is soft and gentle and instantly brings a smile to everybody he meets,” the family friend described Landen on the GoFundMe page.

“He is full of energy and life and enjoys soccer, playing with friends and family and playing hockey with his brother and sister. He was enjoying a day at the Mall of America with his mom and friend on Friday morning when a stranger maliciously grabbed him and threw him over the 3rd floor balcony for no apparent reason,” the family friend continued.

“The family doesn’t know him and are completely clueless as to why this monster would target their family with this heinous act of violence,” the friend said, adding, “Landen has a very long road to recovery ahead of him. He suffered life threatening injuries, many people who fall from that distance aren’t as lucky to make it. He has many surgeries ahead in his life to try to get back to a normal life for a young, vibrant boy.”

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda has been charged with critically injuring the 5-year-old boy at the Mall of America. The suspect has been charged with attempted homicide.

It was not immediately clear if Aranda retained a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

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