Suspect in murder of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd arrested by police drone flown into his apartment

The 70-year-old actor was found dead near his Atlanta home on 3 October with multiple gunshot wounds in his back

Independent Staff
Friday 16 October 2020 23:49 BST
US police fly drone into murder suspect’s house during arrest

Atlanta police used a drone to arrest a man suspected of murdering Thomas Jefferson Byrd, an actor who appeared in several Spike Lee films.

The Atlanta Police Department shared the dramatic video footage on Twitter. In the video, the drone enters the suspect’s apartment after the entrance is blown. It appears to survey the inside before the suspect walks out from a back room with his hands up.

Police have identified the suspect as 30-year-old Antonio Demetrice Rhynes. He is accused of fatally shooting Mr Byrd earlier this month in southwest Atlanta.

Mr Byrd, 70, appeared in several Spike Lee movies, including Clockers, Get on the Bus, Bamboozled, He Got Game  and Red Hook Summer, among others.

He was found dead on 3 October near his home with multiple gunshot wounds in his back. Police had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Lee broke the news of Byrd’s death, writing on his Instagram: “I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta, Georgia … May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.”

Mr Rhynes is being held at the Fulton County Jail and is facing felony murder charges, Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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