Sunday, January 9, 2011

Daniel Hernandez, intern, stays by Gabrielle Giffords' side

Daniel Hernandez had been U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' intern for five days when she was shot Saturday outside Tucson.

The junior at the University of Arizona was helping check people in at the "Congress on Your Corner" event when he heard gunfire. He was about 30 feet from the congresswoman. When the shots began, he ran toward them.

"I don't even know if the gunfire had stopped," he said Saturday night as he kept a vigil at the University Medical Center cafeteria, gathered near a TV watching tributes and getting updates.

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.

"First the neck, then the wrist," he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.

Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn't choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet.

Ron Barber, Giffords' district director, was next to her. Hernandez told a bystander how to apply pressure to one of Barber's wounds.

Barber told Hernandez, "Make sure you stay with Gabby. Make sure you help Gabby.

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