KEMAH, Texas — The Walmart in Kemah was placed on lockdown early Saturday as authorities confronted a man who had “unknown devices” attached to his body, police said.
Workers and customers were locked in the store on FM 518 at Highway 146 starting around 9 a.m.
According to Kemah P.D. Chief Greg Rikard, officers were dispatched to a suspicious man in a car who had a knife and was wearing a mask.
Witnesses said the man was in a Target parking lot, but his unoccupied vehicle was later found in the Walmart parking lot. Officers waited for the man to return and then confronted him.
Police said they found several “unknown devices” in the man’s pockets and attached to his body around the waist. He was placed in a patrol car while the area was secured and evacuated.
Bomb squads and officers from Texas City, Baytown, La Porte, and Pasadena were called in to assist Kemah police.
As of 1 p.m. the suspect had been stripped down and taken into custody, but customers were still being kept inside and the lockdown was still in place.
Witnesses said employees handed out snacks to everyone in the store, who were kept waiting for nearly five hours.
Police started letting customers leave the store shortly after 2 p.m. when the all-clear was given.
Kemah police later said Mehrzad Malekzadeh, 35, of Sugar Land was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats and a hoax bomb. Both charges are class A misdemeanors. Bond was set at $5,000.
Police transferred the suspect to the Galveston County Jail.