Thomas Jefferson Byrd, best known for Spike Lee movies, killed

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Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, known for his roles in the Spike Lee films, was shot dead in Atlanta, police said on Sunday.Police responded to a call around 1:45 a.m. on Saturday and found Byrd, 70, unresponsive to multiple gunshot wounds to his back, police spokesman Anthony Grant said in a statement.

Paramedics said he died at the scene on the southwest side of town, where he lived.

Grant said homicide detectives were working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting and declined to provide further details.

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Lee said he was sad to report Byrd’s death and recalled how the actor “did his thing” in his films, including Clockers, Chi-Raq, Bamboo, He has play and Da sweet blood of Jesus, among others.

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

Lee also shared some of his favorite scenes with Byrd from Clockers and Bamboo.

Byrd, also a stage actor, was nominated in 2003 for a Tony for his performance in the Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s black background, with Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton.

Oscar winner Viola Davis tweeted, “Oh no !!! 2020! Whaaattt !!! “

Byrd was a “brilliant dancer, actor and friend,” Elisabeth Omilami, another actress and community activist, told WXIA-TV in Atlanta.

“He was a special person whose personality filled the whole room when he walked in, you knew he was there,” she said. “He worked his way through this very racist and difficult Hollywood system and was able to maintain a career through it all. ”

She said Byrd had just finished his last movie – Way to Freedom – with her husband, actor Afemo Omilami.

Actor Lori Petty tweeted: “What a man, what a talent… what a mad loss. “



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