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Embattled California mayor who compared Trump supporters to KKK dies in plane crash

Mayor Bill Kirby reportedly planned to resign his position in wake of social media controversy

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Bill Kirby
Bill Kirby
(City of Auburn, California website)
Updated: April 19, 2020 - 11:11pm

Auburn, California Mayor Bill Kirby died on Saturday in a plane crash, officials have confirmed according to the Sacramento Bee.

Kirby had been piloting the plane, and was killed in the crash; a passenger with "minor injuries" was taken to the hospital, the outlet reported.

"Our beloved father and grandfather, Dr. William Kirby, the Mayor of Auburn, has been tentatively identified as the person killed in the plane that crashed near the Auburn Airport this morning about 10:30 a.m," a statement from Kirby's family posted by Sacramento political consultant Jeff Raimundo said. "Another person in the plane survived the crash. Unfortunately, we do not yet have many other details or answers."

Kirby recently faced a controversy over alleged social media activity in which he likened Trump backers to members of the Ku Klux Klan. He reportedly said on Monday that he soon would step down as mayor.

In one social media post, Kirby allegedly wrote "True" when sharing a meme that showed an image of a white-hooded person and the text, "Good news for Trump supporters is that most of them already have masks." In another comment he allegedly made, Kirby likened Trump and his supporters to Hitler and his supporters.

“(Facebook) is not a city site. It’s a personal site,” Kirby said during an interview with the Auburn Journal, according to Gold Country Media. “This has nothing to do with my job. I reposted it. I think (Trump) is a racist, absolutely.”