Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Character actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd was shot to death in southwest Atlanta early Saturday. He was 70.

Byrd was known for his roles in Spike Lee films including Clockers, He Got Game, and Chi-Raq.

Atlanta Police responded to a call of shots fired on the 2200 block of Belvedere Avenue about 1:45 a.m. Saturday, AJC.com reported.

The actor was found unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds to the back. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital. Police are still investigating.

Byrd, who was born in Griffin, Ga., received a bachelor's degree in education at Morris Brown College before studying dance at the California Institute of the Arts, according to the AJC.

Byrd is best known for his role as Luther, the janitorial manager, in the bank heist drama film Set It Off (1997).

Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Spike Lee, who employed Byrd in several of his films, announced the actor's death on social media on Sunday.

"I'm So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta, Georgia," Lee wrote.

"Tom Is My Guy, Here Below You See Him As The Frightening Character Errol Barnes In CLOCKERS. Brother Byrd Also Did His Thang In My Joints- CHI-RAQ, SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS, RED HOOK SUMMER, BAMBOOZLED, HE GOT GAME, GET ON THE BUS, GIRL 6 And CLOCKERS. May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd. [praying hands emoji]"

 

Iconic director Spike Lee finally won his first ever Oscar award after being nominated 5 times since 1990. Lee won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman at the 91st annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Read more »

Jay Hart, Hannah Beachler

Marvel Studios gambled on a majority Black cast for its big screen adaptation of the Black Panther comic book series. That gamble paid off when Black Panther landed in the top 5 of the biggest-grossing movies of all time. At the 91st annual Academy Awards on Sunday night, Black Panther became the first movie to win an Oscar Award for Marvel Studios.

Read more »

Spike Lee

Spike Lee, in collaboration with sportswear giant Nike, debuted a new line of anti-Trump sneakers.

The filmmaker showcased the basketball shoes in a photo on Instagram.com on Thursday. The image shows Lee holding up a pair of black Nike high top sneakers emblazoned with the words "RESIST" and "REPEL AGENT ORANGE" on the side.

Read more »

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Actor Will Smith is one of the few black stars on the official (read: white) Hollywood A-list. But his membership into that exclusive club may be in jeopardy.

In an interview with ABC's Good Morning America, Smith confirmed he will not attend the Oscar Awards on Feb. 28.

Read more »