Thomas Jefferson Byrd is dead. The 70-year-old actor was found unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds to his back in his Atlanta residence. Police officers found Byrd dead in his residence after they were called to his home. Investigations have commenced into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Atlanta police spokesman Anthony Grant said Byrd had several bullet wounds and officers pronounced him dead at the scene.
Born in Griffin, south of Atlanta, Byrd had a bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College and a master’s degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He was well known in Spike Lee’s movies and featured in many of his films such as Clockers, Get on the Bus, Girl 6, He Got Game, Bamboozled, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Red Hook Summer, and Chi-Raq, the actor appeared in Bulworth, Set It Off, Ray, and She’s Gotta Have It series.
The deceased was also nominated for Best Featured Actor for his role in the 2003 movie Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Spike Lee broke the news of Byrd’s death on Instagram, saying he had lost a “beloved brother” and prayed for his family. He recalled Byrd’s Errol Barnes character in Clockers and stated that the entertainment industry had lost a talented movie act.
“I’m so sad to announce the tragic murder of our beloved brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd last night in Atlanta, Georgia,” director Spike Lee wrote. “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.”