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Oklahoma politician killed by son with wife nearby, police say

OKLAHOMA CITY — A rising politician's meeting with his mentally ill son at a restaurant turned deadly when the young man pulled out a large kitchen knife and stabbed his father to death while his mother and other horrified witnesses looked on, police said Monday.

Christian Costello, 26, was being held on a preliminary first-degree murder charge Monday after the Sunday night killing of his father, Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, a two-term politician who was expected to run for higher office in 2018.

The son, who once spent 90 days confined in a hospital for treatment for an undisclosed mental illness, had asked his parents to meet him at the Braum's fast-food restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City, where he argued with his father while his mother waited outside.

"What set him off to attack the commissioner, we still don't know," Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderrama said at a news conference.

Family members issued a statement through a spokesman on Monday saying they couldn't adequately express the "shock and sadness" they were feeling. They said Christian Costello has a mental illness — although they didn't specify which one — and that he had experienced "many difficulties over the past several years."

In a plea bargain over a 2012 driving under the influence of drugs charge, Christian Costello disclosed that he had once been confined for three months so he could be treated for mental illness and that he was taking mood stabilizers, court records show.

Mark Costello was considered a rising star in Republican Party politics. He took 64 percent of the vote against an incumbent Democrat in 2010 and the telephone software company founder was re-elected last year. He was expected to run for lieutenant governor in 2018, said GOP strategist Trebor Worthen.