Thomas Jefferson Byrd, actor in Spike Lee films, murdered

Byrd was known for his work in films but had a handful of TV roles

Director Spike Lee announced on Sunday that actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, who starred in several of his films, was murdered last night.

Thomas Jefferson Byrd attends the “Spike Lee…Ya Dig!” career retrospective and celebration during the 2014 American Black Film Festival at Metropolitan Pavilion on June 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)

According to TMZ, cops from the Atlanta Police Department responded to a call of a person injured at 1:45 a.m.

After Byrd was found unresponsive, emergency medical workers pronounced him dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the back.

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“I’m so sad to announce the tragic murder of our beloved brother, Thomas Jefferson Byrd last night in Atlanta, Georgia,” Lee said in a post on social media.

The famous director shared a photo of Byrd as the character Errol Barnes in his 1995 film, “Clockers.” Lee also posted a clip from “Clockers,” which he felt highlighted Byrd’s talents.

Fans flooded the comments section of Lee’s post with condolences and prayers for Byrd, and many asked for a more detailed account of the actor’s demise.

At present the story is still developing, and a full report has not been provided by the Atlanta Police Department.

Along with “Clockers,” Byrd also appeared in “Get on the Bus,” “Bamboozled,” “He Got Game,” “Red Hook Summer,” “Chi-Raq” and more.

A successful theater actor, Byrd was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award as Best Actor for a revival of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

According to Film Reference, Byrd grew up in Griffin, Georgia and got his Bachelor’s degree in education from Morris Brown College, a historically Black institution. He received a master’s degree in dance at the California Institute of the Arts.

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After completing his education, he went on to begin his career in theater. Although most of his on-screen work was with Lee, Byrd had a handful of TV roles that included a role in the series, In the Heat of the Night and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

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