The death of Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland has rocked the small east Alabama town of just over 5,000. Authorities confirmed Copeland took his own life Friday as deputies were conducting a welfare check.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told 1819 News the suicide is under investigation, which is standard in any unnatural death.

“That’s standard policy and procedure,” Jones explained to 1819 News. “All law enforcement agencies pretty much do that and that’s in regard to the circumstances surrounding the death of the individual, you know, the actual event itself.”

The sheriff’s office confirmed when deputies attempted to stop Copeland, he did not initially pull over. There was a short, low-speed pursuit that ended with Copeland exiting the vehicle, producing a handgun and taking his own life.

The findings from the sheriff’s office will be presented to a grand jury at a later date.

At least two women have come forward claiming they were victims of Copeland.

Recently, 1819 News revealed Copeland wrote erotic fiction about murdering a real-life local business owner to steal her life, as well as posting pictures of other locals with explicit commentary without their consent.

Jones told 1819 News he was unaware of any official reports of wrongdoing surrounding the mayor and pastor.

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