Arrest Made in Actor's Death

Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd was shot in Atlanta
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 18, 2020 9:00 AM CDT
Man Charged in Death of a Spike Lee Regular
Thomas Jefferson Byrd poses for a portrait in 2008. The actor was slain earlier this month.   (Marcus Yam/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Atlanta police have announced that they made an arrest in the shooting death of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd. Homicide detectives on Wednesday obtained an warrant for the arrest of 30-year-old Antonio Demetrice Rhynes on a felony murder charge based on evidence and tips from the public, and officers arrested him early Friday morning, an officer said in an email. The AP reports that in drone footage of the arrest released by police, the camera enters a second-floor apartment with a damaged front door. It moves through the living room and kitchen and then turns toward a short hallway. A man pokes his head out of a doorway and raises a hand while saying something that can't be heard on the video. He withdraws into the doorway and then emerges a few seconds later wearing red shorts with white stars and no shirt and with both hands in the air.

He then puts his hands behind his head and walks out of the apartment where he again raises both hands. Best known for his roles in Spike Lee films, Byrd was found dead around 1:45am Oct. 3 near his home in southwest Atlanta. He had been shot multiple times in the back. A $10,000 reward had been offered for information leading to an arrest. Byrd acted in films including Clockers, Chi-Raq, Bamboozled, He Got Game and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. Also a stage actor, Byrd was nominated in 2003 for a Tony award for his performance in the Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton. (Spike Lee announced the killing.)

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