KEMAH — A man charged in connection with a bomb scare that locked down a Kemah Walmart store for more than four hours was found not guilty by reason of insanity on Friday.
Mehrzad Malekzadeh, 36, of Sugar Land, was arrested in the parking lot of the store on April 19, when bomb squads were called to investigate what police said were several “unknown devices” found in Malekzadeh’s pockets and in his car.
Officers were initially responding to a report of a suspicious man wearing a mask and wielding a knife in a car in the parking lot.
Shoppers were kept inside the store while the Texas City and Bay Area regional bomb squads used robots to remove the suspicious devices, which police said resembled pipes and other items commonly used to make homemade explosives.
None of the items was found to be dangerous, and Malekzadeh was charged with making terroristic threats involving a fake bomb.
Malekzadeh on Wednesday was found not guilty by reason of insanity by 10th District Court Judge Kerry Neves.
Neves ordered that Malekzadeh be committed to a mental health facility in Kerrvile for an initial 30-day treatment.
Malekzadeh suffers from a “persecutory type” delusional disorder that can manifest itself in visual hallucinations, psychosis and other mental issues, and he did not know his conduct at the Kemah store was wrong, according to an agreed to stipulation.
In an online video published a little more than a week after his arrest, a man who identifies himself as Malekzadeh describes the events that led to the incident in the Kemah parking lot.
While holding a newspaper article describing the four-hour lockdown, the man in the video says the items found on Malekzadeh were “orgone” devices built to purify the air and water and protect users from microwave weapons allegedly operated by the U.S. government.
Orgone is a hypothetical energy, discredited by most scientists, proposed in the 1930s by Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who designed orgone accumulators intended to benefit human health.
Dozens of online videos created by the man who identifies himself as Malekzadeh detail methods for using orgone devices to resist the “New World Order” and escape detection from supposed government spies.
In one video, the man calls himself an “orgone engineer,” and provides a link to a website where he sells homemade orgone devices.
Devices listed for sale on the website include blue orgone pyramids for about $27 and super strength radiation busters for $97.
Images of the orgone-related merchandise show large, pyramid-shaped crystals and a “oneness power-wand” that appears to be a black pipe wrapped in rope.