Labor Commissioner Killed in Oklahoma

     OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello was stabbed to death in public Sunday evening, apparently during a failed attempt to reconcile with his adult son.
     Christian Costello, 26, asked his father and mother, Cathy, to meet him at a Braum’s restaurant in northern Oklahoma City, police officials told The Oklahoman. Witnesses reported the men got into a heated argument before the stabbing at 6:30 p.m.
     “He made his way around the Braum’s seeking help,” Lt. Alex Edwards told the newspaper. “He then went outside to the south of the restaurant and was confronted again.”
     Costello, 59, was reportedly stabbed again in the parking lot and the younger Costello was restrained by customers, with one punching him to stop the attack, police said.
     Costello suffered stab wounds to the neck and head and was pronounced dead on arrival at OU Medical Center.
     Condolences poured in within hours of Costello’s death. His office issued a statement Sunday night saying Costello, a Republican, “was a tremendous leader, colleague and most importantly a friend” to his staff.
     “Our hearts ache as an agency for this tragic event and our department grieves for his family during this very difficult time,” Oklahoma Department of Labor chief of staff Jim Marshall said. “We ask for your prayers and respect for the family of Commissioner Costello.”
     Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Monday that Costello was his friend and that he “will miss his infectious enthusiasm for truck and genuine passion for liberty.”
     “I join the many Oklahomans that are mourning the loss of Labor Commissioner Mark Costello,” Pruitt said Monday. “My heartfelt prayers go out to Mark’s wife and his family during this tragic and difficult time.”
     U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said Costello was a “true servant” to Oklahoma and was considered an “up-and-coming leader” in the state.
     “He passionately worked to represent conservative values not only as labor commissioner, but also in other areas, such as his work to give a voice to the unborn through the pro-life movement,” Inhofe said. “His presence in the state will be missed.”
     Matt Pinnell, the state’s Republican National Committee director, told The Oklahoman Costello had previously been successful in the telecommunications business, “reached a level of financial independence and wanted to give something back” through public service.
     “He didn’t need the paycheck,” Pinnell said. “He loved Oklahoma and was very passionate about making this a business-friendly state.”
     Costello leaves behind his wife, two sons and two daughters.
     Gov. Mary Fallin must appoint a successor to serve the remainder of Costello’s four-year term. He was first elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014.

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