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Family proposes new law to regulate bouncers after death of Valley firefighter

PHOENIX – After a nightclub bouncer was charged in the death of a Daisy Mountain firefighter, his widow and other family members are advocating for a law to regulate bouncers.

Named after firefighter Luke Jones, Luke’s Law would require bouncers to undergo background checks and training before starting work.

Marc Lamber, one of the family’s attorneys, said if the state had training regulations Jones’ death could have been prevented.

“Luke’s life was taken abruptly for no reason,” Lamber said.

The 37-year-old firefighter died after an off-duty altercation at Centerfold’s Cabaret in Phoenix in January. Brandon Draper, the bouncer accused of assaulting the firefighter, is awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder charges.

Luke Jones suffered a broken orbital bone, internal bleeding, a brain hemorrhage, facial contusions and bleeding, according to The Arizona Republic. The news outlet also reported Phoenix police said Draper pushed Luke Jones, who was wearing an arm brace, to the ground and repeatedly hit him.

James Goodnow, another attorney representing the family, said they will file a lawsuit over a wrongful death. Centerfolds did not answer phone calls on Thursday.

The club’s manager also faces charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Lamber said the manager, Timothy Piegari, is accused of refusing to turn over security footage of the bouncer accused of assaulting Luke Jones.

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The family lost love, companionship and guidance, Lamber said.

“What happened to him at Centerfold’s should have never happened to anybody, and that’s why it’s so important that we introduce Luke’s Law today to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future,” Heather Jones, Luke Jones’ widow, said.

Goodnow said they are in touch with state legislators in search of the right sponsors for the bill.

The family asks supporters to sign an online petition.

California, New York and Louisiana have laws regulating the hiring of bouncers, Goodnow said.

More than two dozen firefighters who signed the petition showed up at a Thursday news conference to support the family.

“Arizona needs to do the same,” Goodnow said.

Heather Jones said her husband’s death was not only a loss to his family but a loss to a community that lost one of its protectors. She said people reached out to her after his death to tell her what he had meant to them.

Jones was a paramedic and volunteer firefighter for the Daisy Mountain crew before the north Valley department hired him.

Heather Jones said when Luke Jones was not working, he enjoyed watching football spending time with his nephews and playing with their daughter, now 2 years old.“One mother had told me that Luke would sit in the back of the ambulance with her small child and would comfort him as he had to take numerous trips to the hospital,” said Jones, adding they had just celebrated their 15th anniversary when he died.

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“She had his heart from the minute she was born,” Heather Jones said. “I remember them playing and giggling and laughing. It saddens me to think that I’m never going to get to see them (together) again.”

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Lauren Marshall/Cronkite News

Daisy Mountain firefighters came out to support the Jones family and posed for a photo with Luke Jones’ wife, mother and attorneys.