Police on Monday blamed a city resident with a criminal history for two seemingly isolated and random outdoor homicides that occurred during the height of the holiday season and were of the type that New Yorkers have grown increasingly afraid of since the plague started.
The New York Police Department’s chief of detectives, James Essig, emphasized at a news conference how brief and unplanned Roland Codrington’s interactions with the two men he is accused of killing with a knife in the night, three days apart led to two murder charges.
Who will represent Codrington in the early court hearings was not immediately known.
The deaths occur when widespread fear of senseless violence has escalated in the city.
Recent initiatives by Mayor Eric Adams to intervene more actively on behalf of those in need of mental health care have included removing people off the streets and public transportation and forcing them into treatment.
Despite increased police patrols, Adams claimed early this year after entering office that even he didn’t feel secure using the metro.
When he detonated two smoke grenades inside a train between stops and then fired a volley of erratically placed rounds inside of it, a man was charged with hurting ten people in Brooklyn in April.
A 48-year-old man was shot and died while commuting by train from Brooklyn to lower Manhattan in May.
Despite random incidents, the number of crimes reported on public transportation was, on average, slightly lower by September than before the pandemic, even if usage had decreased.
The first murder for which Codrington was accused occurred at 1 a.m., according to Essig, who announced the arrest on Monday.
On December 19, Codrington approached 51-year-old James Cunningham while walking away from Union Square after leaving a pub and consuming a seltzer.
Codrington was with his girlfriend at the time.
After a 20-second argument captured on tape, Codrington, 35, allegedly stabbed Cunningham across the neck with a knife, leaving him to bleed to death, according to Essig.
According to Essig, at 11:30 p.m., Codrington entered a Lower East Side bar on December 22 carrying a pit bull and a baseball bat.
Codrington said he had received rudeness from bar staff a week earlier. Essig claimed that he assaulted the bartender and damaged the property.
When two customers stepped in to stop the fight, they were stabbed with a big knife and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Essig continued.
Following that, Codrington walked home and declared he would “cool off” with a stroll across the park, according to Essig.
There, Dr. Bruce Maurice Henry, 60, stabbed him repeatedly following a heated verbal argument, according to Essig.
According to the police officer, Codrington drove off in Henry’s Mercedes Benz with his girlfriend. At 2:15 a.m., Henry’s body was discovered. on Dec. 23.
Three “sharp-eyed police officers” from upper Manhattan, according to Essig, were responsible for noticing the automobile around 9:40 p.m. on December 24 and, without opposition, captured Codrington.
He claimed that Codrington had 12 prior arrests, including four for armed assaults. Essig claimed that police were investigating his possible involvement in further random acts.
Essig responded that although the girlfriend is involved in the investigation, “she hasn’t been charged yet.”
However, he continued, “You know, for whatever reason, he was in the park at that time; he didn’t deserve what he received.”
He said he could not describe what the doctor was doing there or the nature of the argument.