October 31, 2014

Elyria
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Former Lorain councilman charged with gun violation

LORAIN — Former Lorain City Councilman Dennis Flores was arrested Tuesday for allegedly failing to inform Lorain police officers that he was carrying a concealed 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.

Dennis Flores

Dennis Flores

Lorain police Sgt. Mark Car­pentiere said a report detailing Flores’ arrest, which took place about 1:40 p.m. near the inter­section of West 10th Street and Long Avenue, wasn’t com­pleted Tuesday evening, but he confirmed that Flores was charged with violating regula­tions requiring concealed carry permit holders to inform law enforcement immediately that they are armed.

Flores, 56, said he was walk­ing his dog and taking pictures of abandoned houses in the area when a group of children walked by one of the homes he was photographing. One of those children told their par­ents that he was taking pic­tures of them and following them. When police arrived, Flores said, he didn’t deny taking pictures but insisted that he wasn’t deliber­ately taking photos of children. He said before he could tell the first officer that he was armed, that officer got on his radio. When a second officer arrived, Flores said he immedi­ately told that officer that he was armed, but he was told he should have told the first offi­cer.

“I did nothing wrong,” Flores said. “They treated me like I’m some sort of criminal.”

Flores does have a criminal record. He was arrested in 2008 on charges he was driving drunk and trying to solicit a prostitute when he was caught in a police sting. He later pleaded no contest to charges of solicitation and physical control, which was lowered from the original DUI charge.

Flores said he was acting in his capacity as a member of the neighborhood watch when he was taking his photographs.

“I was going to take the pictures to Community Development and see if those houses could be boarded up,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to take kiddie pictures.”

Flores said he gave police permission to access the photos on his camera, which was taken as evidence along with his gun, holster, bulletproof vest and his “Flores 2012” baseball cap.

Flores, who lost his re-election bid to represent the city’s 2nd Ward last year, said he is considering running for City Council again in two years.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.