According to a statement by Officer Anthony W. Grant, a spokesman with the Atlanta Police Department, Antonio Demetrice Rhynes, 30, was arrested on the morning of Friday, Oct. 16, on charges of felony murder in the death of the Tony-nominated actor.
The police said that they followed evidence and tips from the public to identify Rhynes as a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest the prior Wednesday. Authorities also revealed that Rhynes was arrested without incident at an apartment complex and was taken to the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, according to jail records. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
Byrd’s daughter, Shannon Byrd-Crossley, who lives in Atlanta, thanked the city’s police department for the arrest. “We are very thankful for all of the work the APD has done,” she said that Friday in a statement. She added, “This gives a little closure and relief, but there is still sadness that’s there because it doesn’t bring my father back.”
As previously reported, the film veteran was gunned down in a residential neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 3. Authorities responded to a call around 1:45 a.m. Saturday to 2257 Belvedere Avenue on a report of a person injured. “Upon arrival, units located a male lying unresponsive at the location. Grady EMS responded to the scene and pronounced the male deceased from multiple gunshot wounds to the back. The victim was later identified as Thomas Byrd,” the department stated.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that police said Byrd was walking home from a nearby store when Rhynes got out of a car and shot him. Rhynes has an extensive arrest record that dates back to 2007 in just Fulton County, Georgia, where he has been held on charges varying from aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, carjacking, and now murder.
A memorial service was held for Byrd in Atlanta, where it was streamed online to hundreds of people.
Bryd was most notable for his frequent features in Spike Lee-directed films such as “Clockers,” “Girl 6,” and “He Got Game,” just to name a few. At the time of his death, the award-winning director called Bryd “our beloved brother” in a series of tributes to the actor on his Instagram page.
“I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta Georgia,” Lee wrote. He added, “May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.”