US & Canada

Oklahoma politician Mark Costello stabbed to death in restaurant

Mark Costello Image copyright AP
Image caption Tributes have been paid to Mark Costello

An Oklahoma politician has been stabbed to death in a restaurant, allegedly by his own son.

Mark Costello, the state's Labor Commissioner, died in hospital from wounds to the head and neck suffered at an ice cream and fast food restaurant in Oklahoma City.

His 26-year-old son Christian has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

"Our hearts ache as an agency for this tragic event," said Jim Marshall, the Labor Department's chief of staff.

Mr Costello, 59, was married with five children.

Police said there was a fight between the two men which began in the restaurant and spilled into the parking lot.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Christian Costello is now in police custody

The Department of Labor in Oklahoma is closed today because of Mr Costello's death, according to its website.

During his career, he was an advocate of small government and closed the Department of Labor's Tulsa office because he felt it was being underused.

He made headlines in 2011 when he compared state bureaucrats to "feral hogs", later apologising.

"I'm just numb right now, as many of us are," said Oklahoma Republican Party chairman Randy Brogdon.

"He was a great Christian, a good man and a wonderful husband and dad. He is going to be sorely missed."

Republican US senator James Lankford called Mr Costello's death an "unbelievable tragedy".