The fatal shooting of beloved actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd shocked fans and peers alike when it was announced earlier this month.
The actor, who was mostly known for acting in an array of Spike Lee films, died in Atlanta at the age of 70. Now, it looks like there’s a leading suspect involved in the fatal shooting that stemmed from an argument, resulting in Byrd being shot in the back. Police recovered spent rifle rounds near Byrd’s body at the crime scene.
Following up on evidence and tips, investigators said they identified the suspect in the case as 30-year-old Antonio Demetrice Rhynes. Warrants were issued for his arrest Wednesday and he was taken into custody early Friday morning at the Royal Oaks Apartments along North Camp Creek Parkway, Atlanta police said.
He has been arrested at least five other times in Fulton since 2007, online jail records show. His previous charges include armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and hijacking a motor vehicle, among others.
“Any progress that is made, we are thankful for it,” Byrd’s daughter Shannon Byrd-Crossley said in a statement. “I do feel great relief. But at the same time, it doesn’t bring him back.” Byrd-Crossley, who is an artist and theater teacher in Atlanta, does not personally know the suspect.
Earlier this month, investigators announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest. Lee recently launched a GoFundMe for Byrd’s children, which has now surpassed its goal of $100,000. A memorial service was held for the late actor on Tuesday at Hillside International Truth Center in Atlanta and it was also streamed online.