Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Star Of Spike Lee Films, Shot Dead At 70
Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, best known for his roles in Spike Lee films, was shot and killed in Atlanta on Sunday. According to a statement by police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant, officers found Byrd unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds in his back while they were responding to a call at 1:45 a.m. on Saturday. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Officer Grant added that homicide detectives are working to figure out the circumstances that led to the shooting but declined to give any further details.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Lee said that he was sad to announce Byrd’s death. The director listed some of Byrd’s most notable works and offered condolences to the family, writing, “May we all wish condolences and blessings to his family. Rest in peace Brother Byrd.”
View this post on Instagram
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,Here Below You See Him As The Frightening Character Errol Barnes In CLOCKERS. Brother Byrd Also Did His Thang In My Joints- CHI-RAQ,SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS, RED HOOK SUMMER,BAMBOOZLED,HE GOT GAME,GET ON THE BUS,GIRL 6 And CLOCKERS. May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
Upon hearing the news of his death, friends and colleagues of the late actor offered their thoughts and prayers. Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis tweeted, “Loved working with you Byrd. What a fine actor you were. So sorry your life ended this way. Praying for your family.”
Actress and activist Elisabeth Omilami wrote that Byrd was “a brilliant dancer, actor, and friend…. He was a special person whose personality filled up the whole room when he entered you knew he was there. He fought his way through this very racist and difficult Hollywood system and was able to maintain a career through it all.”
Byrd was both a screen actor and a Tony-nominated stage actor. According to Omilami, he had just finished his last film, Freedom’s Path, before his death.