At this point, there isn’t a lot of detail about what exactly happened to Thomas Jefferson Byrd and the investigation is still ongoing. In the early hours of Saturday morning, police responded to a call regarding an injured person, and Byrd was found unresponsive. Emergency Medical Services were dispatched but Byrd was pronounced dead, due to multiple gunshot wounds to the back. That’s essentially all that’s been released so far. Atlanta police are investigating the homicide but if any new information has been discovered explaining what happened to Byrd, it has not been released.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd’s feature film debut was in Spike Lee’s Clockers, and as the writer and director suggests, it’s probably the actor’s best-known role in a Spike Lee joint. Outside of working with Lee, Byrd made guests appearances on a variety of television shows and appeared in several other movies, including Ray, Bullworth, and Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest. Byrd has one more project in the pipeline, Brett Smith’s Freedom’s Path.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd also appeared on the stage and he was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 for his performance in Ma’ Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Spike Lee isn’t the only person mourning the loss of Thomas Jefferson Byrd. Viola Davis also spoke on Twitter about Byrd when she found out the news.