Director Spike Lee announced on Sunday that actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd had been murdered the night before. Byrd starred in several of Lee's movies, and the two were apparently close outside of work as well. According to Lee's Instagram post, Byrd was murdered in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday night.
"Time is my guy, here below you see him as the frightening character Errol Barnes in CLOCKERS," Lee wrote on Sunday afternoon. "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."
View this post on Instagram
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 did not reveal any details on Byrd's death or his alleged murderer. A few minutes later, however, he did post a clip from Clockers, which he felt highlighted Byrd's talents well. It featured Byrd playing a "dope fiend character," Lee said.
Another tribute to Byrd cropped up on Twitter from stand-up comedian Jay Washington. Washington posted an old photo of himself with Byrd and Lee on set, revealing that he "had the honor of working with" them on several projects.
Fans flooded the comment sections of these posts with condolences, and with prayers for Byrd. Many looked for more details about what had happened to the actor, but seemed to come up short. So far, there are no news reports on Byrd's alleged murder, nor are there any murder reports from Saturday night that seem to match his description.
Byrd grew up in Griffin, Georgia, according to Film Reference, and got his bachelor's degree in education in Atlanta at the historically Black college Morris Brown College. He later got a master's degree in dance as well, at the California Institute of the Arts. He went on to an acclaimed career in theater, which ran concurrently with his career in cinema.0comments
Most of Byrd's on-screen work was with Lee. However, he had a handful of TV roles, including his first credited role as Louis Arthur on the series In the Heat of the Night back in 1993. Byrd later appeared in Mama Flora's Family, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and, most recently, She's Gotta Have It.
After Lee broke the news of Byrd's passing, fans gathered to mourn him on social media. Many were soon reminiscing about his most striking scenes on screen, and realizing that they had spent years watching him act in Lee's movies. There are still few details available on his death.