The Opelika Observer and WVTM-13 are both reporting the Nov. 3 death of Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, who also served as pastor of First Baptist Church Phenix City.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed Copeland’s death, according to both news outlets.
While WVTM added that the death was by suicide, The Observer reported on Facebook the evening of Nov. 3 that “no details have been released at this time.”
“We respectfully ask that you keep his family, friends and the Smiths Station community in your prayers during this difficult time,” reported The Observer staff.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Updated information released mid-morning Nov. 4 includes confirmation of Copeland’s death by his own hand (via the sheriff’s office to multiple local media outlets including the Opelika-Auburn News) and a Facebook post from leaders of FBC Phenix City requesting prayer support for their late pastor’s family and for the congregation. “Thank you all for your prayers and expressions of sympathy and support. First and foremost, we ask that you keep Pastor Bubba Copeland’s family in your prayers today, and in the days ahead,” the post reads. “We greatly appreciate your messages, comments and encouragement. Please continue to pray for us as we move forward in sharing God’s love to all people.” A second Facebook post from mid-day Nov. 4 notes, “A cross has been placed on the church lawn for those who may wish to place flowers/memorial in remembrance.”
Copeland’s death comes after a Nov. 1 media report by 1819 News that exposed an alleged secret life he was leading. Read more about the situation here: