KEY POINTS

  • Thomas Jefferson Byrd, known for appearing in several Spike Lee films, was fatally shot on Oct. 3 
  • Law enforcement authority is currently investigating the case 
  • Filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Viola Davis paid tribute to the late actor on social media

Thomas Jefferson Byrd, an actor who appeared in several Spike Lee movies, was fatally shot on Saturday, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

The law enforcement authority said that police officers responded to a call about an injured person at 2259 Belvedere Avenue. Upon arrival, the officers found Byrd lying unresponsive at the location, Variety reported.

An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team also arrived at the scene and identified Byrd as the person who had been injured severely from multiple gunshot wounds to the back. The EMS team pronounced him dead shortly after arriving.

The media outlet also reported that the Atlanta Police Department is currently investigating the actor’s death. The law enforcement authority also told Variety that all the information they have gathered is still preliminary in nature and could change as they continue to investigate Byrd’s death.

Lee paid a touching tribute to the late actor and called his death a “murder.” Taking it to Instagram, the filmmaker mentioned the projects that they worked on and extended his condolences to Byrd’s family.

“I’m so sad to announce the tragic murder of our beloved brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd last night in Atlanta, Georgia. Tom is my guy. Here below you see him as the frightening character Errol Barnes in ‘CLOCKERS’.  Brother Byrd also did his thang in my joints — ‘CHI-RAQ’, ‘SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS’, ‘RED HOOK SUMMER’, ‘BAMBOOZLED’, ‘HE GOT GAME’, ‘GET ON THE BUS’, ‘GIRL 6’, and ‘CLOCKERS’. May we all wish condolences and blessings to his family. Rest in peace brother Byrd,” Lee wrote on Instagram.

Apart from Lee, actress Viola Davis also paid tribute to the late star and said she was disappointed that the actor’s life ended so tragically.

“Oh no!!! 2020! Whaaattt!!! Loved working with you Byrd. What a fine actor you were. So sorry your life ended this way. Praying for your family. So very sorry,” Davis wrote on Twitter.

Born in 1941, the actor started his acting career in 1992 on a TV show called “In The Heat Of The Night.” However, his moment of glory came in 1995 when he appeared in Lee’s blockbuster hit movie “Clockers.” After which, Byrd appeared in projects such as “Set It Off” (1996), “Touch Me” (1997), “Bulworth” (1998), “MacArthur Park (2001), “Ray” (2004), and “She’s Gott Have It” (2017).

In 2003, Byrd was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23: Thomas Jefferson Byrd attends "Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus" cast and crew special screening after party at Hudson Hotel on June 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage) Photo: Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage