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Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 01/10/2011

U. of Ariz. junior Daniel Hernandez helped Rep. Giffords moments after shooting

By Jenna Johnson
Jenna Johnson

University of Arizona student Daniel Hernandez Jr. was manning a sign-in table at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" event Saturday morning when he heard the sound of gunfire.

Some people dropped to the ground or fled. Hernandez ran toward the sound.

The junior political science major had received nursing training in high school, and checked the pulses of a few victims and made sure they were still breathing, according to the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the student newspaper at the University of Arizona.

Then he saw that Giffords (D-Ariz.) had a "severe gunshot wound to the head" and worked to reposition her body so she could breath without the risk of inhaling blood, Hernandez told the Wildcat. He applied pressure to stop her blood loss and gave others instructions.

"She was my main focus so I stayed with her and tried to help her as much as possible," Hernandez, 20, told the campus newspaper.

Giffords' district director Ron Barber was nearby and told Hernandez, "Make sure you stay with Gabby. Make sure you help Gabby," according to The Arizona Republic.

Hernandez rode in the ambulance with Giffords, holding her hand. At the hospital, the FBI took his blood-soaked clothes and police asked him questions. He waited for hours as she was in surgery, over-hearing incorrect rumors that she had died, the Republic reported.

"Knowing she was alive and still fighting was good news. She's definitely a fighter, whether for her own life, or standing up for people in southern Arizona," Hernandez told the Republic.

The Wildcat reported that Hernandez had started an internship with Giffords that week, but he had known her for years and interned on her 2008 congressional campaign.

"I don't think I'm a hero. I think doing something one off is not something heroic," Hernandez told the Wildcat. "I think the heroes are people like Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Ron Barber, Dave Zimmerman, and Pam Simon. They are people who have dedicated their lives to public service so for them it wasn't just a one time thing, it's spending their entire lives trying to help others."

You can read the full Daily Wildcat story, here. And the full Arizona Republic story is here.

By Jenna Johnson  | January 10, 2011; 11:18 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags:  University of Arizona  
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He was not afraid to run toward the sound because he was part of the plot to take out the judge.

Posted by: brng | January 10, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I think that Daniel Hernandez and the two men who tackled the shooter and the woman who took the magazine should all receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Posted by: sunnyday1 | January 10, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I agree with sunnyday1. This young man and the others who helped save lives deserve to be honoured. They did what was right despite the danger to their own lives and all the others who stood by or ran.

Posted by: Wander099 | January 11, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

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