Reward set as Atlanta police seek suspect in actor’s death


In this July 2, 2008 photo, actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd appears during a portrait session in Atlanta. Police say Byrd, known for his roles in many Spike Lee films and who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003, was shot dead in Atlanta on Saturday. He was 70. (Marcus Yam/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

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ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward as they continue to search for the person who shot actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd in Atlanta.

Best known for his roles in Spike Lee films, Byrd was found dead around 1:45 a.m. Saturday morning on the city’s southwest side. He had been shot multiple times in the back.

The reward was announced Tuesday. Police have not identified a suspect in the 70-year-old actor’s shooting death or said why it may have happened.

Byrd was found shot near his home and died before he could be taken to a hospital. Robert Calloway told WSB-TV he found Byrd in a yard and ran to a fire station for help. Calloway didn’t know Byrd.

“I thought he had a health issue. He was in the yard,” Callaway said.

Byrd acted in films including “Clockers,” “Chi-Raq,” “Bamboozled,” “He Got Game” and “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.” Also a stage actor, Byrd was nominated in 2003 for a Tony award for for his performance in the Broadway revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton.

Police ask anyone with information to call them or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477, or submit information online at

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