Man Arrested In Fatal Shooting Of Thomas Jefferson Byrd


The Tony Award-nominee was slain in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 3.

Written by BET Staff

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

A 30-year-old man was arrested Friday (October 16) in the fatal shooting of Thomas Jefferson Byrd, who was known for appearing in multiple Spike Lee films.

The man, Antonio Demetrice Rhynes, arrested on a felony murder charge in the October 3 shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to PEOPLE. After processing, he was scheduled to be taken to the Fulton County Jail.

Investigators did not yet release a motive for the shooting, which sparked an outpouring of grief by fans who knew of Byrd, 70, through his roles in string of hit films by Lee, including Bamboozled, He Got Game, Red Hook Summer, and Clockers.

Lee announced the news in a somber tweet after the early morning shooting on October 3:

“I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta, Georgia. Tom Is My Guy.”

Byrd, an actor for three decades, was a Tony award-nominated actor who received a Bachelor of Science degree in education at Morris Brown College and then later received a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance at the California Institute of the Arts. Besides films by Lee, he starred in other films, including Set It Off, Ray, and Brooklyn’s Finest.


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