Man named person of interest in Kristin Smart cold case arrested in San Pedro for alleged gun violation

Local news

A man named as a person of interest in the 1996 disappearance and unsolved death of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart was arrested in San Pedro Thursday after he was found with a gun, police said.

Paul Flores was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession with a firearm around 9:45 a.m. on the western edge of San Pedro, in the area of Summerland and Western avenues, said Officer Tony Im, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Flores has a previous felony conviction for driving under the influence, according to KSBY in San Luis Obispo.

Police did not provide further details on the circumstances of Flores’ arrest Thursday, and it’s unclear how or why officers originally made contact with him.

Flores, a San Pedro resident, is considered the sole person of interest in Smart’s disappearance, and no suspects have been named.

The 19-year-old college student was legally declared dead in 2002, but her body has not been found.

Flores was a classmate of Smart’s at Cal Poly SLO, and he was the last person to see her before she vanished 24 years ago after they left an off-campus party together.

Investigators served two search warrants at Flores’ home on the 900 block of Upland Avenue last year, one in February and the other in April.

On Feb. 5, the residence was one of four locations in California and Washington where warrants were served, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

Then on April 22, another warrant was served specifically targeting Flores’ house “for specific items of evidence,” the release stated. Authorities said they could not provide any additional information about the search warrant because, like the ones served in February, it is sealed by the court.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times in February that investigators were trying to gather DNA and other physical evidence that could provide clues about what happened to Smart.

Still, no arrests have been made in the case.

Though Flores has never been criminally charged in her disappearance, Smart’s family has sued him in civil court, according to the Times.

Flores was held Thursday on $35,000 bail in the weapons case, Im said.

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