Path of rage: East Harlem man busted for two murders and bar assault after massive NYPD investigation

An East Harlem man faces murder and assault charges in connection with a bloody rampage in his home neighborhood and the Lower East Side this month that left two men dead and two others seriously injured, police brass announced Monday morning.

Roland Codrington, 35, of 2nd Avenue is accused of slashing and stabbing two men to death whom he encountered, and violently attacking three people at a bar he frequented — knifing two patrons who came to the aid of a female bartender whom he allegedly choked with a baseball bat.

Codrington and his girlfriend were picked up inside a stolen vehicle in the Bronx on Dec. 24, Chief of Detectives James Essig said at the Dec. 26 announcement. The arrest was the result of a massive police operation after detectives linked Codrington to the three incidents.

“Because of the work of the absolutely greatest detectives in the world, and with the essential aid of extraordinary officers on patrol,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell remarked, “the women and men of the NYPD have once again shown their resolve in bringing to justice a perpetrator, and stopping a crime pattern. While we applaud the great work of our officers, our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims who fell prey to this predator.” 

According to Essig, Codrigton has a laundry list of prior arrests dating back to 2006, many of which were for assault with a weapon. He was arrested earlier this year for several auto-related assaults, the chief of detectives noted.

Essig outlined the details surrounding the pattern of violence, which began at 1 a.m. on Dec. 19 with the murder of a man near 214 Avenue A in the East Village.

According to Essig, the victim had bumped into Codrington, who was with his girlfriend at the time, after leaving a nearby bar. Video footage taken from the scene showed Codrington allegedly involved in a verbal dispute for about 20 seconds that ended with the suspect slashing the victim’s throat.

Moments later, officers from the 9th Precinct found the victim unconscious and unresponsive with a 10-inch slash wound. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

James Essig, Keechant Sewell, John Chell
Chief of Detectives James Essig (at podium) speaks about the Roland Codrington arrest on Dec. 26, 2022, flanked by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell (l.) and Chief of Patrol John Chell.Screenshot from video courtesy of NYPD

Three nights later, at 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, Codrington allegedly went on the attack at Teddy’s Bar and Grill in East Harlem. Essig said the suspect arrived at the scene with a pit bull and carrying a baseball bat.

Police allege that Codrington immediately went behind the bar, choked a female bartender with the bat and damaged property. When two male patrons intervened, Essig said, Codrington allegedly stabbed them for their trouble, then fled the scene. All three victims suffered injuries not considered life-threatening.

“During the investigation, it was determined that the individual had a previous dispute in the bar approximately a week ago because he felt disrespected by the employees,” Essig explained. “He was asked to leave. A female was with him” at the time of the previous visit.

Eventually, detectives assigned to the 9th and 23rd Precincts Detective Squads were able to connect Codrington to both incidents — but he would commit another murder before finally being apprehended.

Essig said that Codrington allegedly stabbed Bruce Henry, a 60-year-old pediatrician, during an encounter inside Marcus Garvey Park, near the corner of Madison Avenue and East 120th Street, at about 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 23.

“There’s some verbal exchange, where [Codrington allegedly] becomes enraged, takes out a knife and stabs [Henry] numerous times,” Essig explained. “For whatever reason, [Henry’s] inside the park at that time. He didn’t deserve what he got.”

Officers from the 23rd Precinct found Henry stabbed multiple times in the back, torso, buttocks, eye and palms, and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Codrington was then tied to Henry’s murder after police obtained video showing the suspect and his gal pal entering the victim’s vehicle, a black Mercedes-Benz parked near Marcus Garvey Park, on Dec. 24. 

The NYPD then mobilized in a massive collaborative effort, according to Chief of Patrol John Chell, coordinating resources from various units including Strategic Response, Aviation, Communications, Operations, Transit and Housing in a full-court press to track Codrington down before he struck again.

Three “sharp-eyed” officers from the 30th Precinct ultimately stopped Codrington and his girlfriend as they rode inside the stolen Mercedes-Benz at the corner of 166th Street and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx at 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 24. Within moments, Codrigton was in custody; his girlfriend was also brought in for questioning, and charges against her are pending, Essig noted.

Codrington faces two counts each of murder and attempted murder, as well as additional charges of second-degree assault and criminal mischief.