A small-town Alabama mayor died by apparent suicide just days after a conservative news site published pictures of him allegedly wearing women’s clothes and makeup, officials said Sunday.
Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, who was also a pastor at First Baptist Church of Phenix City, fatally shot himself and was pronounced dead at 5:01 p.m. CT on Friday, Lee County Coroner Daniel Sexton said in a statement to NBC News.
An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
“Thank you all for your prayers and expressions of sympathy and support,” First Baptist Church said in a statement Saturday. “First and foremost, we ask that you keep Pastor Bubba Copeland’s family in your prayers today, and in the days ahead.”
Copeland’s death came two days after the 1819 News published a story with photos of the mayor donning women’s clothes and makeup.
“It is sad and disgusting how he was treated by” 1819 News, former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., said in a statement Saturday. “We live in a mean, bitter world where the self righteous tend to throw the largest stones.”
A rep for 1819 News could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.
Copeland was best known for leading his town through a 2019 tornado that killed 23 people in eastern Alabama.
“I am so saddened at the death of my friend Mayor Bubba Copeland,” Jones said. “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.”
Then-President Donald Trump visited damaged communities and Jones said Copeland played a vital role in communicating the region’s needs to the White House.
“I toured the destruction with him, helped him navigate the FEMA recovery efforts and made sure that he was able to plead his case directly to President Trump,” Jones said.
The city of Smiths Station, near the Georgia border, has a population of about 5,400 people and is about 80 miles miles east of Montgomery, Alabama’s capital.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at 988lifeline.org. You can also visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional support.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com