ATLANTA – Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, known for his roles in Spike Lee films, has been shot and killed in Atlanta, police said Sunday.
Police responded to a call around 1:45 a.m. Saturday and found the 70-year-old Byrd unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds in his back, police spokesman Officer Anthony Grant said in a statement.
Responding paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene on the city’s southwest side, where he lived.
Grant said homicide detectives were working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting and declined to provide further details.
In an Instagram post Sunday, Lee said he was sad to announce Byrd’s death and recalled how the actor “did his thang” in his films including “Clockers,” “Chi-Raq,” “Bamboozled,” “He Got Game” and “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” among others.
“May we all wish condolences and blessings to his family,” Lee wrote. “Rest in peace, Brother Byrd.”
Lee also shared some of his favorite scenes with Byrd from “Clockers” and “Bamboozled.”
Byrd, also a stage actor, was nominated in 2003 for a Tony for his performance in the Broadway revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton.