Monday, June 17, 2024

Latino Intern Receives Standing Ovation from Arizona Lawmakers

A twenty-year old Congressional intern who is credited with helping save Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life, was honored for his life-saving actions in Saturday’s shooting in Tucson, with a standing ovation from Arizona lawmakers led by Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday.

“Daniel Hernandez, a University of Arizona student, showed no fear in the face of gunfire,” Brewer said. “His quick action in going to Gabby Giffords’ aid likely saved her life. Daniel is here today and I’m going to ask him to stand and receive the thanks of a very grateful state.”

Hernandez then stood to receive a standing ovation bestowed by lawmakers.

Brewer also spoke of “extraordinary Arizonans who responded with professionalism and saved lives” in her address to lawmakers.

An intern for just five days before the shooting, Hernandez described in an interview the events that unfolded following the first gunshots.

“I was about 40 feet away from the congresswoman and the place she was meeting with constituents and I was kind of behind a corner so I couldn’t see directly where the congresswoman was from my position. I heard the gunshots and I knew that people had been injured most likely. So I ran towards where the congresswoman was,” he said.  “When I got there I saw that there were people who had been injured. I then tried to see who had a pulse still, see if people were still breathing. I was only able to check two or three people before I noticed that Congresswoman Giffords had been injured severely. So then she became my first priority. Not just because of her position but also because of the severity of her wounds.”

Giffords had been shot point blank in the head.

“I tried to make sure that I picked her up so that she wasn’t in a position where she could asphyxiate on her own blood because of the position she originally was in. I then started applying pressure to her wound to try and stem the blood loss.”

Despite the recognition and honor he has received, Hernandez downplays his role, crediting Giffords and public servants as the true heroes.

“I don’t think that I did, I think it was emergency services,” says Hernandez.   People have been referring to me as a hero. I don’t think that that’s something I am. I think the people that are heroes are people like Gabby, who are public servants and who have dedicated their lives to public service.”

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  1. Maria Elena says

    He is an example to us all, not sure if I’d be able to do what he did. Surely his actions helped save the Congresswoman’s life. However, when are we going to come to the point where it won’t matter that he is Latino or gay? I think us Latinos do it to ourselves and carry a chip on our shoulders. Sure we have been oppressed and discriminated against, but when are we going to move forward? He is human and he should be commended for his actions, not just because his last name is Hernandez.