Daniel Hernandez Jr. is the 20-year-old intern whose sharp reflexes are credited with helping to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Hernandez is openly gay and an LGBT youth leader in Tucson, reports the Dallas Voice, whose servers are temporarily down tonight.
Hernandez, who confirmed that he is gay in an interview with Instant Tea on Sunday morning, is a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. "She’s been a great ally to the LGBT community," Hernandez said of Giffords during the brief interview across a bad connection.
According to the Arizona Republic, Hernandez was standing about 30 feet from Giffords during the “Congress on Your Corner” event outside a Safeway store near Tucson. When the gunshots began, Hernandez ran toward them and began checking the pulses of people who’d been hit. When Hernandez got to Giffords, he used his hand to apply pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap and held her upright so she wouldn’t choke on her blood.
Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure to the wound until someone brought clean smocks from the meat department of the grocery store. He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived, then climbed into an ambulance with her. On the way to the hospital, he squeezed her hand and she squeezed back.
Luckily, the third-year political science major at the University of Arizona has experience in triage. The Arizona Republic adds: "The fact that Hernandez was nearby and able to react quickly probably saved Giffords' life, said state Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, and a hospital physician."