Search continues for killer of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd in Atlanta

Friends and colleagues are mourning the death of actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd after he was found shot to death in southwest Atlanta Sunday morning.

Byrd's body was found in the front yard of a home in the 2,200 block of Belvedere Avenue. Police say he had multiple gunshot wounds to his back.

Byrd is a well-known actor, having appeared in a number of films over the years and was nominated for a Tony award in 2003.

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Director Spike Lee posted about Byrd's death on his Instagram page Sunday, offering his condolences.

The two men enjoyed a long friendship, with Byrd appearing in several of Lee's movies.

Byrd's longtime friend and fellow actor Afemo Omilami called Byrd a devoted husband and father and a master of his craft.

"We are still kind of in shock about it you know, a wonderful brother who was full of life and loved life," Omilami said. "We want justice.  No one should get away with this."

Film director Brett Smith shared photos of the actor, captured on the set of "Freedom's Path," last fall in Arkansas.

"One of the things I wanted in this specific character was to find someone who was authentic and real, compassionate and just really strong and the second you see Thomas and talk to him he just exudes all of those characteristics", Smith told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes.  

The film is now in final production, and Smith expects it to be released next year.  

"For me as a filmmaker, it adds a very heavy weight to make sure that we honor him and pay tribute to him, not only his character but his career," he said.

Police have not released a motive or possible suspects in the case.  

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