April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Ex-councilman pleads not guilty to gun permit violation

LORAIN — Former City Councilman Dennis Flores pleaded not guilty Thursday in Lorain Municipal Court to a misdemeanor charge that he failed to notify Lorain police officers he was talking to on Tuesday that he was carrying a loaded gun.

Police had stopped Flores on West 13th Street after a woman called police and told them that a man matching Flores’ description was fol­lowing her daughter and her friends and taking pictures.

When Offi­cer Efrain Torres stopped Flo­res, the for­mer Council­man didn’t tell him he had a loaded 9 mm semi­automatic pistol on his hip. He also didn’t tell the second officer on the scene, Sgt. Larry Meek, about the gun, according to police.

Meek has said the only rea­son officers learned about the gun was because he saw Flores’ holster when Flores took his camera out of his pocket. He then asked Flores about the gun and if he had a concealed carry permit, which Flores does.

Flores initially told The Chronicle-Telegram that he never had a chance to tell Torres because the officer received a radio call. He later changed the story and said he told Torres about the gun just as the radio call came in, but Torres must not have heard him.

Under Ohio law, concealed carry permit holders are required to immediately inform law enforcement that they are armed.

A review of the images on the camera led police to conclude he wasn’t deliberately taking photos of children. Instead, the camera was full of pictures of run-down houses in the Long Avenue area that Flores has said he planned to show to the city’s Community Development Department.

In addition to the camera and gun, police also took as evidence a pocket knife, a bulletproof vest and Flores baseball cap that read “Flores 2012.”

Flores, who is free on bond, has said he might run for Council again in 2012.

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