NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Charges were dismissed Monday against a prominent Connecticut attorney arrested in August for bringing a handgun to a movie theater showing the Batman film, ‘‘The Dark Knight Rises.’’
Sung-Ho Hwang, president of the New Haven County Bar Association, was charged with breach of peace and interfering with police after officers said they found a loaded handgun in his waistband. Police say he had a permit to carry the weapon but didn’t comply with their commands.
Hugh Keefe, Hwang’s attorney, said prosecutor David Strollo agreed to drop the misdemeanor charges Monday. Strollo cited his clean record and that although police were yelling to put his hands up, Hwang didn’t know they were police because of the flash lights in his eyes, Keefe said.
‘‘He thought it was a prank and once he realized they were police he complied,’’ Keefe said.
Keefe said after Strollo said he would drop the charges, he requested they be dismissed and a judge agreed.
‘‘I'm delighted,’’ Keefe said. ‘‘I think it’s the just result. I think given the high profile nature of the case and the amount of publicity the arrest generated, that it took some courage on the part of Mr. Strollo to do the right thing.’’
A message was left Monday with Strollo.
During a screening of the same film in Aurora, Colo., in July, a man opened fire, killing 12 moviegoers and wounding 58. James Holmes has been charged with the Colorado killings.
Hwang said he brought the gun to protect himself late at night. Hwang, 46, said he was cooperative.
‘‘When baseless breach of peace and interfering charges are brought against people that have a right to carry, it really threatens our constitutional right to bear arms,’’ Hwang said in August.
Since the Colorado shootings, several instances of people bringing weapons to showings of the film have been reported across the country.
Police spokesman David Hartman said police responded professionally and in accordance with the law.
‘‘For the safety of theater patrons and with the Aurora massacre foremost in their minds, officers had seconds to formulate a plan and execute it,’’ Hartman said in a statement. ‘‘It was Mr. Hwang’s hesitation to comply with the officer’s orders and his behavior that led to his being charged. We’re fortunate no one was hurt or injured, and thank the many people who've voiced their appreciation of how police handled the incident.’’