Sugar Land man charged after Walmart lockdown

We're learning more about the man say was behind the scare Saturday that kept shoppers stranded for hours
April 20, 2014 6:11:53 AM PDT
A scare for customers and employees at a Kemah Walmart Saturday lasted several hours. They couldn't go anywhere while police and a bomb squad were called to the parking lot. When it was all over, shoppers were able to leave and a Sugar Land man was in custody.

This first call came in as a man wearing a mask and holding a knife. Police found the suspect's car in the parking lot, and when he came out, they realized they needed to evacuate the area and lock down the Walmart.

Cell phone video inside the store shows the tension.

"They told everyone to remain calm," said customer Trish Bent.

Bent was there getting her hair cut when she found herself trapped and recording as bomb squad crews just feet of away from the front door started to cut off the suspect's clothes.

"They started removing them piece by piece," she said. "Put them on the ground, searched him, cut all of his clothes off until he was completely naked."

Investigators say they found several fake bombs and devices strapped to 35-year-old Mehrzad Malekzadeh. Police say he was in the Kemah Walmart store Saturday morning and came out to officers ready to take him down.

"It was just mixed emotions going through there," said shopper Olivia Chamerlain, who was stuck inside the store. "They don't know what's going to happen next."

Customers inside were first told to huddle in the back of the store away from windows. Walmart crews handed out chicken wings and water.

Customers sitting on bean bags, some using stuffed animals as pillows, tried to stay calm and relaxed. They even called in the Easter Bunny for the kids.

Outside, Pasadena bomb squad crews called in a robot to search the suspect's vehicle. Several boxes and other items were taken from it and placed in a detonation chamber.

Customers were then allowed to do a little shopping and after the five-hour lockdown, were given the all-clear.

Malekzadeh lives in Sugar Land. He is charged with making terroristic and hoax bomb threats. He now in the Galveston County Jail with bond set at $5,000.


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