Thomas Jefferson Byrd’s Murder Suspect Arrested

Police arrested a man on Friday morning who is accused of murdering Thomas Jefferson Byrd, the character actor who appeared in several Spike Lee films.

Antonio Demetrice Rhynes, 30, was arrested by a fugitive unit and SWAT team officers, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

Rhynes is accused of shooting Byrd early on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 3. Officers were called to the home at 2257 Belvedere Ave. at 1:45 a.m. They found Byrd dead with multiple gunshots in the back, according to a police statement.

According to police, homicide detectives followed up on evidence and tips from citizens to identify Rhynes as a suspect. They obtained a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of murder on Wednesday.

Rhynes was arrested early on Friday morning at the Royal Oaks Apartments, at 3540 North Camp Creek Parkway. He will be taken to the Fulton County Jail.

“The Atlanta Police Department is proud of the diligent efforts of the Homicide Unit to identify a suspect in this crime and the skilled and professional work done by the Fugitive Unit and SWAT Unit to take Mr. Rhynes into custody without incident,” the department said in a statement.

Byrd, 70, had roles in “Clockers,” “Get on the Bus,” “Bamboozled,” “Chi-Raq,” and several other Lee films. He also received a Tony Award nomination for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” on Broadway in 2003, and appeared in many other Off Broadway productions, often in other August Wilson plays.

Lee has posted several tributes to Byrd on his Instagram account.

“May we all wish condolences and blessings to his family,” Lee wrote. “Rest in peace, Brother Byrd.”

The Atlanta Police Department later issued drone video of Rhynes’ arrest:

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