Heroism Amid Tragedy In Arizona

Two examples of heroism in yesterday’s shooting in Tuscon deserve some attention.

First, there’s the 20 year-old intern who likely saved Congresswoman Gifford’s life:

A heroic young intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – who had been on the job for only five days – quickly rushed to stop the bleeding moments after she had been shot and his quick thinking is being credited with saving the congresswoman’s life.

The Arizona Republic published a profile of 20-year-old University of Arizona junior Daniel Hernandez, revealing he was standing 30 feet from Giffords when shots were fired outside a local Safeway — and that he ran toward them.

“I don’t even know if the gunfire had stopped,” he told the Arizona Republic Saturday night at the University Medical Center in Tucson.

Outside the hospital just before midnight, in an exchange witnessed by POLITICO, Tuscon Mayor Bob Walkup briefed a group of about a dozen locals who had gathered around a make-shift vigil and pointed to Hernandez as the “young man” likely responsible for saving Giffords’ life.

Moments after the shootings, Hernandez checked the pulses of other shooting victims who were lying on the pavement and spotted Giffords.

He applied pressure on the bullet entry point to stop the bleeding and pulled Giffords into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet, the Republic reported.

Hernandez stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived and accompanied her to the hospital. While he was rushing toward the gunfire to help, another woman took action that likely prevented Jared Loughner from claiming more victims:

At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Clarence Dupnik offered more details on how suspected Arizona shooter Jared Loughner was disarmed.

Dupnik said that when Loughner ran out of bullets in his first magazine clip, a woman who had already been shot “went up and grabbed” the new magazine “and tore it away from him.” Dupnik said the name of the woman was known but he did not share it during the press conference.

After the confrontation with the woman, Loughner was able to load another magazine into his weapon, but “the spring in the magazine failed,” Dupnik said, and two men were able to get his weapon away from him and subdue him until law enforcement arrived.

As sad as yesterday’s events were, there’s something good about the fact that simple human heroism still exists.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.