Lockdown lifted at Kemah Walmart after bomb squad investigation
Updated On: Apr 19 2014 07:38:00 PM CDT
Customers were placed on lock down for hours in a Walmart as a bomb squad investigated a threat in the store's parking lot.
According to investigators with the Kemah police department, it all started at around 9 a.m. Saturday at the Walmart on FM 518 and Highway 146.
Police say officers were dispatched to the store's parking lot on reports a suspicious man wearing a mask was in a car holding a knife but when officers arrived, the car was unoccupied.
When the man returned to his car, several unknown devices were found in his pockets and attached to him, investigators say.
Mehrzad Malekzadeh, 35, of Sugar Land was arrested.
Officers cleared the parking lot and customers were kept inside of the Walmart while a bomb squad used robots to get closer to the device. Eventually, a sheet was used to shield the man as he was stripped completely down.
Curious customers who were watching from the store's front doors told Local 2 he was wearing several layers of clothing that included four pairs of shorts and two pairs of pants.
Customers inside the Walmart told Local 2 News, employees did what they could to keep people inside the store comfortable.
“There were people lounging in beanbag chairs. They opened air mattresses. There were people asleep in the electronics department,” said customer Trish Bent.
Workers passed out water and brought out games for children.
Shoppers found chairs in the store for older customers to sit.
According to investigators, the lockdown ended just before 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“They kept us occupied, opened games for the kids, had the Easter bunny. They did try but everybody was getting cranky,” said customer Devon Lofton.
Malekzadeh is charged with terroristic threats and hoax bomb, both class A misdemeanors.
He was transferred to the Galveston County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
Local 2 has learned Malekzadeh was charged in Harris County for another bizarre incident in 2012, when he was arrested and charged with trespassing after he was located near some railroad tracks and told officers he was trying to bury argon.