Boy thrown off balcony at Mall of America miraculously suffered 'zero brain damage,' pastor says




 

A 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America miraculously suffered no brain damage, his family pastor said.

The boy fell nearly 40 feet after a stranger "looking for someone to kill" picked him up and threw him earlier this month.

Bloomington, Minn., police Chief Jeffrey Potts described the scene as "gut-wrenching."

Now, the boy is showing "zero evidence of brain damage" Mac Hammond, a pastor at the family's church, said during an Easter Sunday service. Hammond said the boy underwent a five-hour MRI test, and there aren't signs of brain swelling.

"No spinal cord injury, no nerve damage, no internal injuries that were life-threatening," Hammond said in a video shared by Minnesota's FOX 9.

Hammond said a shocked physician compared the boy's injuries to that of a child who fell off of a bicycle. He did say that the boy sustained many broken bones.

A GoFundMe page for the boy set up by family friend Noah Hanneman had raised nearly $1 million as of early Wednesday. Hanneman told USA TODAY that the family is requesting privacy but is "very thankful for the prayers and support."

Tuesday, the boy's family shared a statement on the fundraising page, saying "our son remains in intensive care, under sedation and under close monitoring as we stay patient to allow him to heal."

They also said the prayers are working, "God's hand is working."

More: Man accused of throwing 5-year-old boy over Mall of America balcony was 'looking for someone to kill'

On April 12, the boy was standing outside of the Rainforest Cafe restaurant at Mall of America with his mom and a friend when he was attacked. He's described by Hanneman as "the sweetest, kindest 5-year-old you will ever meet" and a "strong survivor."

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder. He said he was angry after being rejected by women at the mall and was "looking for someone to kill," according to a complaint.

More: Boy thrown nearly 40-feet from Mall of America balcony is a 'strong survivor'

More: An apparent stranger threw a 5-year-old boy nearly 40 feet from a mall balcony, police say

Aranda had been banned from the mall - but the ban was not in effect at the time of the incident. He has a history of misdemeanor convictions; some cases were handled through a mental health court, Potts said.

He was arrested at the mall in 2015 and faced three charges after he threw an object off the mall's third level and became uncooperative with police, Potts said.

Police said Aranda told them he had come to the mall a day earlier looking to kill someone, but it didn't "work out." Aranda said he planned to kill an adult but then changed his mind and grabbed the boy.

More: New York college student dies after falling from clock tower weeks before graduating

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Boy thrown off balcony at Mall of America miraculously suffered 'zero brain damage,' pastor says

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