Man Arrested on Felony Murder Charge for Allegedly Shooting of Thomas Jefferson Byrd

The Tony-nominated actor was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 3

Thomas Jefferson Byrd
Thomas Jefferson Byrd. Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

A man has been arrested in Atlanta after allegedly shooting Thomas Jefferson Byrd earlier this month.

Antonio Demetrice Rhynes, 30, was arrested on a felony murder charge for the October 3 shooting of Byrd in Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to PEOPLE. Once processed, Rhynes will be taken to the Fulton County Jail.

A spokesperson for the department told the New York Times that they did "not have motive information to release at this time as well."

PEOPLE previously reported that officers responded to a 911 call about an injured person on October 3 at 1:45 a.m. local time. Upon arrival, officers found a man lying "unresponsive at the location."

The victim, later identified as Byrd, was pronounced dead at the scene, having suffered "multiple gunshot wounds to the back."

Antonio Demetrice Rhynes
Antonio Demetrice Rhynes. Fulton County Sheriff's Office

In a press conference Friday, Lieutenant Pete Malecki told reporters that Byrd had been walking back to his house from a store hours earlier when a 2010 Chevy Impala pulled up next to the Tony-nominated actor. The driver fatally shot Byrd, then "fled the location."

Malecki said that investigators received a "critical crime stoppers tip" that helped lead them to Rhynes, who was arrested using drone technology.

Byrd, 70, starred in several films from director Spike Lee, including Chi-Raq (2015), Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014), He Got Game (1998) and Clockers (1995).

Lee, 63, shared a tribute to Byrd the day after his death.

"I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta,Georgia," Lee wrote on Instagram.

"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."

Byrd was also known for his roles in 1996's Set It Off and 2004's Ray. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 for his stage performance as Toledo in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

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