More about the Tuscon Sheepdog, Daniel Hernandez

by Roger Hedgecock

“There was a hero Saturday in front of that Arizona supermarket. He didn’t have a gun and didn’t shoot back, but it is said by witnesses he saved Gifford’s life.

Twenty-year-old Daniel Hernandez is a junior at the University of Arizona. He had signed up as an student intern in Gabrielle Gifford’s District office just five days before the shooting.

This was Hernandez’ first event staffing Gifford’s “Congress on Your Corner” constituent meeting. Hernandez was about 30 feet away from the representative, signing people in as they came up to see her. Then he heard the shots.

Then he ran, not away screaming as most people there understandably did, but toward the shots. “I don’t even know if the gunfire had stopped,” he recalled later to reporters from the Arizona Republic.

Dan Hernandez said, “Of course you’re afraid. You just have to do what you can.”

What Dan did was move from one wounded, bleeding, victim to another, checking for pulse. One man’s pulse had stopped. Then he saw Gifford, contorted and lying bleeding on the sidewalk. He ran to her. She was conscious but quiet, Dan later recalled.

He applied pressure with his hand to the entry wound in her head to stop the bleeding. Then he pulled her upright into his lap to prevent her choking on her own blood. Doctors attending Gifford at the hospital later credited these actions with saving her life.

Someone from inside the Safeway brought a clean smock from the meat department which Dan then used to apply pressure to the head wound. Ron Barber, Gifford’s district director, lay wounded next to Gifford. Dan instructed another person to apply pressure to Barber’s wounds. Barber told Dan, “Stay with Gabby.” So he did.

The paramedics arrived, strapped Gifford to a gurney and lifted her into an ambulance. Dan got in the ambulance beside her, holding her hand during the ride to the hospital.”

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