F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, the eastern Alabama mayor who died by suicide after photos of him dressed in women’s clothing were made public, will be buried Thursday.
The interment will follow a funeral at First Baptist Church of Phenix City. He was a senior pastor at the church.
Services begin at 3 p.m., according to his obituary. Family will receive friends Wednesday evening at Vance Brooks Funeral Home.
The married 49-year-old father of three died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound two days after a conservative website published a story about what it called Copeland’s “secret life” on the internet as a “thick transgender woman” he called Brittini Blaire Summerline.
Copeland told that outlet he started role-playing at a young age to relieve stress and asked that pictures of him not be published. After those photos were posted to the website, Copeland apologized to his congregation for any embarrassment his “private and personal life” caused them.
On Friday, authorities sent to perform a welfare check on Copeland engaged him in a slow pursuit that ended when the victim exited his car and shot himself, police said.
Copeland was elected mayor of Smiths Station, Alabama, in 2016 after serving on a local school board for eight years, according to his obituary.
“During his tenure as Mayor, he helped guide the City through a period of tremendous growth and development, and earn its place as one of the fastest growing Cities in the State of Alabama," that obit reads. “But above all, beyond serving his church, city, and community, Bubba loved spending time with his family and serving his community.”
Copeland was mourned during a tearful Sunday mass, where the Birmingham Times said he was remembered as someone who “loved this church and its people.”
Auburn man Larry DiChiara said on Facebook he had reached out to the embattled mayor before he ended his life, and said Copeland admitted he’d been going through “dark days.”
“Are you happy now? What crime did he commit?” DaChiara asked social media users. “Some of you people make me sick. I hope you are really proud.”