TUCSON, Ariz. — A gay intern, who had been working for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) for only five days, is credited with helping to save the Congresswoman’s life after she took a gunshot wound to the head while appearing at a public event on Saturday.
Daniel Hernandez Jr., a 20-year-old University of Arizona student, was volunteering at the community event and was standing about 30 feet from Giffords when Jared Loughner opened fire on the congresswoman.
Six people in the crowd were killed, and 13 others injured, including Giffords, who remains in critical condition.
“When I heard gunshots, my first instinct was to head towards the congresswoman to make sure that she was OK,” Hernandez told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning.
“I had to lift up the congresswoman, because she was severely injured, and I wanted to make sure that she was able to breathe OK because there was so much blood,” he said.
“The congresswoman was alert. She was able to hold my hand when I asked her if she could hear me,” said Hernendez.
“I wasn’t able to get any words from her. She may have been trying, but because of the way that I was having to hold her it was a lot easier to just ‘if you can hear me Gabby just grab my hand to let me know that you’re okay.'”
The fact that Hernandez was nearby and able to react quickly probably saved Giffords’ life, said state Rep. Matt Heinz (D-Tucson), a hospital physician.
Hernandez, a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, told the Dallas Voice that Giffords has “been a great ally to the LGBT community.”