Spike Lee Collaborator Thomas Jefferson Byrd Murdered in Atlanta, Director Says

Byrd appeared in eight of Lee’s films, including “Clockers” and “Chi-Raq”

Last Updated: October 4, 2020 @ 3:04 PM

Spike Lee mourned the death of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, who the director says was murdered in Atlanta on Saturday night.

“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 in a Sunday Instagram post.

Lee also shared a picture of Byrd in his 1995 crime film “Clockers,” one of eight films by Lee in which Byrd appeared.

According to local reports, police identified Byrd after receiving a call about an injured person at 1:45 AM on Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds to the back. A homicide investigation is ongoing.

Byrd, also known as T-Byrd, debuted on-screen in the 1992 mystery crime series, “In the Heat of the Night.” He went on to appear in the TV movie “I’ll Fly Away: Then and Now” and, by 2019, added numerous films to his resume, including “Clockers,” “He Got Game,” “Bamboozled,” “Ray” and “Chi-Raq.” He also appeared on TV in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Lackawanna Blues” and “She’s Gotta Have It.” He was seen this year in the Tracy Morgan-Tiffany Haddish sitcom “The Last O.G.”

Born in Griffin, Georgia, Byrd attended Morris Brown College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of science degree in education. He later went on to earn a master’s degree in dance at California Institute of the Arts. In 2003, he received a Tony Awards nomination in the Best Actor category for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”