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Atlanta police arrest in actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd’s shooting death



Atlanta police have arrested in the fatal shooting of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd.

Murder detectives on Wednesday obtained a warrant for the arrest of 30-year-old Antonio Demetrice Rhynes on a charge of murder based on evidence and tips from the public, and officers arrested him early Friday morning, Officer Steve Avery said in an email.

Rhynes will be taken to Fulton County Jail once he is treated, Avery said. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment on his arrest.

Police declined to release further information, saying the investigation remains open and active.

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In drone footage from the arrest released by Atlanta police, the camera enters an apartment on the second floor with a damaged front door. It moves through the living room and kitchen and then turns toward a short hallway.

Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd poses for a portrait at the 2014 American Black Film Festival at the Metropolitan Pavillion on June 21, 2014 in New York City.  He died at the age of 70 in Atlanta, Ga.

Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd poses for a portrait at the 2014 American Black Film Festival at the Metropolitan Pavillion on June 21, 2014 in New York City. He died at the age of 70 in Atlanta, Ga.
(Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images)

A man is seen sticking his head out of a doorway and he raises a hand while saying something that cannot be heard in the video, according to the footage. He is seen pulling into the doorway and then shows up a few seconds later wearing red shorts with white stars and no shirt and with both hands in the air. As can be seen on the footage, he then puts his hands behind his head and walks out of the apartment, where he again lifts both hands.

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Byrd became best known for his roles in the Spike Lee movie and was found dead around noon. 1:45 on Saturday on the southwest side of town. He had been shot several times in the back. A reward of $ 10,000 had been offered for information leading to an arrest.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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