November 7, 2023
Alabama mayor, Buddy Copeland fatally shot himself in front of police.
A Smiths Station, AL, politician committed suicide after pictures of him dressed as a woman were leaked.
Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland fatally shot himself and was pronounced dead on Nov. 3, just two days after the conservative website 1819 News published a story with photos of Copeland wearing women’s clothes and makeup.
First Baptist Church in Phenix City, where the politician was also the pastor, released a statement on Facebook asking for prayers for the Copeland family.
“Thank you all for your prayers and expressions of sympathy and support,” the statement read. “First and foremost, we ask that you keep Pastor Bubba Copeland’s family in your prayers today and in the days ahead.”
A friend told The Daily Mail that Copeland said he was experiencing some “dark days” before his suicide. The unidentified friend said the pastor was persecuted online after the pictures leaked and he tried to offer some encouragement to Copeland.
“It was the day before he passed away,‘ the friend recalled. “I said, ‘Bubba, keep your head up. You’re a good man with a great heart. Don’t ever forget that. Call me if you need me.’”
The friend remembered Copeland responding with, “Thank you. It’s been some dark days.”
The mayor also published four pieces of trans porn and erotic fiction, fantasizing about transitioning. On the day of his suicide, another story was published claiming how Copeland wrote violent fantasy fiction and posted pictures of people from his community on his Reddit page without consent. Residents reached out to him to see if he was okay. Copeland even reached out to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones to talk.
“It was a friend calling a friend,” Jones said. “Let’s just say he was concerned about the article. I think ‘upset’ would be a good way of putting it.”
Law enforcement was called to perform a welfare check on him, with no sign of him being at his home or the market he owned. Eventually, he was spotted driving on a country road. After deputies flashed their lights for him to stop, Copeland pulled over, got out of the car, and shot himself.
“It’s just tragic all the way around,” Jones said.
Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) released a statement in honor of Copeland, saying, “It is sad and disgusting how he was treated by” 1819 News.
“I am so saddened at the death of my friend, Mayor Bubba Copeland. He was a good man and a great mayor who led the small town of Smith Station through the tough times of a devastating tornado a few years ago.”
Copeland played a major role in assisting the town through a devastating tornado in 2019 that killed 23 people in eastern Alabama.
His funeral is set for Nov. 9 at First Baptist Church in Phenix City.