Man arrested in shooting death of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd

A 30-year-old Atlanta man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd.

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After law enforcement issued a call for tips in the fatal shooting of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, an arrest has been made in his murder.

Read More: Thomas Jefferson Byrd, actor in Spike Lee films, murdered

theGrio reported the Atlanta Police Department and Crime Stoppers offered a $10,000 reward for information that resulted in the eventual indictment of the suspect arrested for shooting and killing Byrd.  The 70-year-old actor was found dead from gunshot wounds on October 4.

Thomas Jefferson Byrd
Actor and beloved Georgia native Thomas Jefferson Byrd, featured on stage and film screens, was found dead early Sunday morning. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

In a development according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an arrest has been made in the violent act. Using evidence and gathered tips, they identified the suspect as 30-year-old Antonio Demetrice Rhynes. The outlet continued to report warrants were issued for his arrest Wednesday and he was taken into custody early Friday morning where he will be booked into the Fulton County Jail.

The AJC noted Rhynes criminal history included multiple arrests since 2007 on a range of charges from armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and hijacking a motor vehicle, and more. Police said the shooting followed an argument near Byrd’s home.

Rhynes Byrd thegrio.com
Antonio Demetrice Rhynes (Credit: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

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The Tony-award nominated actor’s daughter, Shannon Byrd-Crossley, spoke to the AJC about the arrest and said she did not know Rhynes.

“Any progress that is made, we are thankful for it,” said Byrd-Crossley to the news outlet. “I do feel great relief. But at the same time, it doesn’t bring him back.”

Another of Byrd’s daughters, Desaree Murden, also spoke out about the murder according the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She offered kind words in remembrance of her father.

“I realized that God’s gift to me was my dad and the way he loved me and the way that he made me feel — that I was the smartest, most capable, most beautiful person in the world,” Murden said Tuesday during a memorial service according to the AJC. “I could do anything. I would say something trivial. And he would be like, ‘Girl, you are so smart.’”

The memorial service held in Atlanta was streamed online for hundreds of people and attended in person by family. Byrd is survived by his son, Thomas IV; five daughters, Aria, Carmen, Kalah, Shannon, and Desaree, five grandchildren, and his ex-wife.

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