Ar­rest in killing of Spike ac­tor

New York Daily News - - NEWS - Nel­son Oliveira

A man has been charged in the shoot­ing death of Thomas Jef­fer­son Byrd, a pop­u­lar ac­tor who was gunned down near his home in At­lanta ear­lier this month.

The 70-year-old vic­tim, who worked with direc­tor Spike Lee on mul­ti­ple films, was found with sev­eral gun­shot wounds to his back on the morn­ing of Oct. 3, au­thor­i­ties said.

Fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and nu­mer­ous tips from the pub­lic, po­lice on Fri­day ar­rested At­lanta res­i­dent An­to­nio Rhynes, 30, and charged him with one count of felony mur­der. Po­lice have not re­leased any de­tails of the sus­pect’s al­leged in­volve­ment.

Byrd’s col­lab­o­ra­tions with Lee in­cluded the films “Bam­boo­zled,” “Clock­ers,” “Get on the Bus,” “Girl 6,” and “He Got Game,” all of which pre­miered be­tween 1995 and 2000.

The ac­tor also ap­peared in sev­eral re­cent movies di­rected by Lee, in­clud­ing “Chi-Raq” in 2015 and “Da Sweet Blood of Je­sus” in 2014.

“We Shared Much Hard Work And Fun Over Our 24 Years Of Doin’ Da DAMN THANG,” the leg­endary direc­tor wrote in an In­sta­gram trib­ute this week.

“T-Byrd Is My Guy. Many Of The Fun­ni­est, Hys­ter­i­cal, And Illest Lines He Skill­fully De­liv­ered He Wrote Him­self Or — Even Bet­ter — Just AD LIBBED On the Spot,” he wrote.

Byrd also por­trayed the char­ac­ter of Stokely in the Net­flix se­ries “She’s Gotta Have It” and ap­peared in mul­ti­ple stage pro­duc­tions over the years.

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