Lee County Sheriff: Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland found dead from apparent suicide
Smiths Station Mayor F.L. Bubba Copeland found dead in apparent suicide after controversy surrounding his personal life.
Smiths Station Mayor F.L. Bubba Copeland was tragically found dead on Friday evening in Lee County, Alabama. Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed that Copeland had taken his own life. Copeland had recently been embroiled in a controversy surrounding his personal life. Besides his role as mayor and owner of a small grocery store in rural Alabama, Copeland also served as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Phenix City.
The online news site 1819 reported earlier in the week that Copeland had posted explicit content, including pornography, graphic memes, and photos of himself dressed in women's clothing, on his now-deleted Instagram and Reddit accounts. Going by the name "Brittini Blaire Summerlin," Copeland even shared transgender fiction and erotica that he had written. These revelations have shocked the local community and sparked a heated debate.
Some of Copeland's friends, such as former Phenix City School Superintendent Dr. Larry DiChiara, have expressed their anger and heartbreak over the situation. DiChiara, who had spoken to Copeland since the controversy arose, offered his support and encouragement. DiChiara condemned those who had publicly ridiculed Copeland, questioning the motives behind their actions and urging them to reflect on the consequences. He ended his heartfelt post by asking for forgiveness and offering prayers for Copeland's soul.
Sheriff Jones confirmed that both the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Lee County District Attorney's Office were investigating Copeland's death. Deputies had initially responded to a welfare check request when they encountered Copeland driving his truck on a county road near his grocery store. They attempted to stop him, but Copeland chose to end his own life instead. Sheriff Jones clarified that the sole reason for the stop was the welfare check, emphasizing that there were no outstanding warrants or other justifications for the interaction.
The community of Smiths Station and the surrounding area is now grappling with the loss of their mayor and pastor. Copeland's death has left many questioning the impact of online shaming and the importance of supporting individuals who may be struggling mentally and emotionally. As the investigation continues, it is hoped that lessons can be learned from this tragic event, leading to greater compassion and understanding within the community.