Daniel Hernandez Jr., The Gay Intern That Kept Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Alive

Good thing Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a gay rights supporter: Her intern Daniel Hernandez Jr., who’s credited with saving her life after yesterday’s shooting by ensuring she didn’t choke on her blood until paramedics arrived, is a homo. Karma really is a good thing. Update: Hernandez is making the media rounds; clips below.

As police search for a second man who may have worked with suspected shooter Jared Loughner (Update: The man has been cleared of any involvement), we’re learning more details about what happened immediately after Giffords and others were gunned down outside a Safeway during the congresswoman’s “Congress On Your Corner” event. And it was Hernandez, a twenty-year-old University of Arizona junior who served on the Tucson Commission on GLBT Issues, who rode with Giffords to the hospital, squeezing her hand the whole way there. The Arizona Republic reports:

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses. “First the neck, then the wrist,” he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding. Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet.

Ron Barber, Giffords’ district director, was next to her. Hernandez told a bystander how to apply pressure to one of Barber’s wounds. Barber told Hernandez, “Make sure you stay with Gabby. Make sure you help Gabby.”

Hernandez used his hand to apply pressure until someone from inside Safeway brought him clean smocks from the meat department. He used them to apply pressure on the entrance wound, unaware there was an exit wound. He never let go of her. He stayed with Giffords until paramedics arrived. They strapped her to a board and loaded her into an ambulance. Hernandez climbed in with her. On the ride to the hospital, he held her hand. She squeezed his back. When they arrived at the hospital, Hernandez was soaked in blood. His family brought him clean clothes because the FBI took his for evidence.

Like many bystanders all over the country, Hernandez heard NPR’s report that Giffords had died — while he was in the hospital waiting on news of her recovery. But with her surgeon optimistic about her survival — as of this writing, she’s listed in critical condition — Hernandez says, “She’s definitely a fighter, whether for her own life, or standing up for people in southern Arizona.”

Hernandez’s Facebook wall is being plastered with notes of gratitude. “Good job for being so courageous <3," notes one. "Wow, you are incredible. I am so glad that you are alright and that you have done so much for everyone," adds another. And: "I saw you on the news im glad your safe friend. You are a true hero." MSNBC interviews Hernandez:

CNN interviews Hernandez:

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #arizona #crime #danielhernandezjr. stories and more


  • John

    Awesome. It kind of reminds me of Oliver Sipple.

  • Simon

    This is one of those moments where knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re” pays off. Sadly for the person commenting on his wall who does not know the difference, now they are being quoted on other websites.

    Otherwise, great story!

  • GetBalance

    Very very cool.

  • justiceontherocks

    Hero. Thank you, David.

  • justiceontherocks

    My bad. Sorry. Thank you DANIEL. You are a credit to the human race.

  • Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch... (John From England)

    Great stuff.

  • IonMusic

    Countdown till one troll from the other side comes on here and trolls by saying ….”what difference does his sexuality make?”

    Let me take a moment to educate them in advance before they spew their ignorance, which btw, they get paid for to log on these sites and troll.

    The difference in highlighting his sexuality makes is EVERYTIME a person who just happens to be gay does something wrong, Fox News and ilk run with his sexuality as the headline as a means to justify discrimination of all gays.

    This story, the tragedy on September 11th and the heroic gay man who saved lives by taking those monsters to task, and the many, many positive contributors who are gay and who make a great impact on society prove we are people’s equals and deserve to be treated as such. And if we’re going to box people based on their actions, there’s been far worse ill will commited in history by hetrosexuals (specifically straight males) yet we don’t as a society come hard on all straight men, do we? nor should we.

    Be respectful toward your gay brothers and sisters because they’ve probably endured a lot in their lives and yet are still contributing greatness in the world around them (sadly, with a fraction of the rights afforded to their hetrosexual counter parts)

  • ewe

    I did not notice your headline reading “straight congresswoman shot in the head.” Why bring up the sexual orientation of her intern? Is he going to mention his homosexuality if he is interviewed? Will it be brought up for topic when he takes the stand at the trial to come? I don’t like that one bit.

  • ewe

    @IonMusic: You can’t have it both ways. If you want to have it both ways then you don’t mention his sexual orientation at all.

  • ewe

    @IonMusic: It doesn’t make sense what you say. If it did then we would go around saying that the straight congresswoman was such a great public servant but you are not calling for that either.

  • GregorVonK


    In theory you’re quite right. His sexual orientation has no direct bearing on his act of heroism. Still you know that a number of readers on this site will find it hard not to feel pround of this member of our community. (And consider: a sense of community IS something LGBT people have achieved over the past 50 years and something we CAN take pride in).

    If he is profiled in the media to any great extent and achieves any level of celebrity, I would imagine that various aspects of his personal life would indeed come to the fore. Would it then be permissible (in EWEr eyes) to be proud of him?

  • justiceontherocks

    @ Ewe – it doesn’t bother Hernandez, why does it bother you? All the new reports mentioned that the congresswoman is married.

    I’m happy that a gay person who has been a supporter of the community gets the credit he deserves.

  • How Boring

    Get over it already . Would there be that much contraversy if it was you or i that got shot ? She’s no better than anybody else in this World and God created us all equal . True it’s sad for anyone to get shot but, do we mourn over a dead fallen soldier for days, weeks or months so, life goes on .

    God Bless us all . Not just one person .

  • Gregger

    I don’t care what any of the naysayer spout. He’s a hero. I sent him a thank you.

  • .

    When someone does something nefarious, and the person happens to be gay, several posters inevitably chide Queerty for noting the person’s gayness, basically saying, “What does the fact that he is gay have anything to do with it? The person’s sexuality is irrelevant to the story and so you should not have mentioned it.”

    Well turnabout is fair play.

  • ewe

    @GregorVonK: yes i admire him tremendously and it has nothing to do with the fact he is gay.

  • ewe

    @justiceontherocks: I did not say it bothered me. I said i did not like it. Did you stop to think that the reason the congresswoman being married was mentioned is because the congresswoman was the victim shot here? There were a lot of people who assisted and their sexual orientation is not being mentioned. IonMusic implies he/she wants to have it both ways which is impossible unless we start talking about the sexual orientation of everyone at the scene. It’s so desperate. His sexual orientation had nothing to do with what happened. Why would you think bringing it up is not going to single him out when you don’t talk about the orientation of the others that helped just as valiantly? It’s small and petty and not called for. We are discussing the emergency response of people, not sexual orientation.

  • ewe

    And don’t think for one minute if the mainstream media brought up his sexual orientation for topic, the entire gay blogosphere would have a hissy fit. This whole conversation is dumb.

  • ewe

    I am really sorry and don’t mean to offend anyone but if i was the one at the scene and i helped or did not help, i certainly would not want the first thing people talking about me to be my sexual orientation. It is very invasive to some people when you jump into their personal lives so intrusively. How many commenters here know this man well enough to think they can publicly discuss his life that closely when it has nothing to do with giving CPR or applying pressure to a gunshot wound. So what if he’s gay. There were lots of straight people there too. If that is not brought up then there is no equality issue at stake.

  • TGC

    “Good thing Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a gay rights supporter:…Karma really is a good thing.”

    Sooooo…..if she didn’t support gay rights, he wouldn’t have done anything? Not exactly the best way to start off a good, laudatory article.

  • Jeffree

    Funny how different websites mention or focus on different parts of the identity. Some of the 20ish sites I’ve read don’t just specify Giffords’ party affiliation (Dem.) but comment on it. Others have pointed out her religion (she’s apparently the only Jewish representative -?-). Many mentioned her husband and his profession (astronaut!). Few mentioned her ethnicity, some cited her age.

    As for Daniel, most sites mentioned his age (22), a few his ethicity, and his sexual orientation. All mentioned he’s an

    Unless those identifiers have bearing on the story, I do wonder how those “extra” descriptors get selected.

  • TGC

    @Jeffree: Can’t remember where I saw it, but the one article I read which mentioned she’s Jewish did so after pointing out this guy favorited Mein Kampf.

  • Jeffree

    Thanks, you’re right! The presumed assailant apparently had some interest in or even ties with an anti-Semitic group as well, the name of I can’t remember now.

    Interesting to note that Hernandez’s Hispanic/Latin background was pointed out, a few times too, in relation to some of the divisive immigration/ ethnic issues in AZ. Whether he’s first or seventh generation, from Cuban, Dominican, or Mexican etc. family.

    I’m not making any political point, but just noticing how the press focuses on different details, and sometimes they’re sort of random (astronaut husband!) but that they provide some sense of these people being very real. (like that the 9 y/o girrl who died was born on 9/11 and was a ballerina)

  • GregorVonK


    You’re right that journalists go for a human interest angle in their stories–and that usually means grabbing on to whatever is unique about the “players” in a given news story. If anyone involved in a developing news story has something “interesting” about them, it will likely be mentioned IF the story exends beyond the immediate 24 hour news cycle and if their role in said story is large enough.

    Mr Hernandez’ homosexuality is news fodder in exactly the same way that Mr Giffords being an astronaut is or that young Christina was born on 9/11/01. None of these facts are directly relevant to the story, but all are “of interest” for better or for worse. I imagine most journalists (and perhaps a majority of readers) would opine that attempts to “humanize” the figures involved is overall a positive thing in that readers will be more likely to empathize with the victims of this (or any) tragedy.

    Sometimes it’s not clear as to how directly some of those human interest facts are connected to case. If it turns out, for instance, that Loughlin was anti-Semitic (which some may conclude on the basis of his apparently having read MEIN KAMPF) that Congressworman Giffords’ Jewishness becomes more than a human interest angle.

  • kjr

    Congratulations to Daniel for his fast thinking, high school experience. More praise to him for doing the right thing.
    The sad note is that you are characterizing him as a “gay” intern who helped the congresswman. Who cares? He’s an American doing the right thing!

  • eagledancer

    A) Mr. Hernandez is a member of the City of Tucson’s GBLT Commission.
    B) Congresswoman Giffords is an active member of the Congressional GBLT Equality Caucus.
    C) It seems relevant that Mr. Hernandez’ Gay activism in connection with his position on the Commission (as well as his ethnicity) may well have been a factor in terms of Giffords’ office offering him the internship.
    D) I also agree with posts that point out how consistantly gays and lesbians are vilified simply on the basis of their sexual orientation—Gay and Lesbians who are noted for doing positive things help bring a more balanced view, especially for young kids (of any sexual orientation) growing up with homophobic parents and families.
    E) The other by-standers who prevented the shooter from killing others may or may not be gay or lesbian, but they are not public members of an agency responsible for addressing GBLT issues as is Mr. Hernandez. Those of us who remember Oliver Sipple’s history (a Gay man and ex-marine who saved President Ford’s life from a similar assassination attempt, was publically outed by the media, which–this was 1975–resulted in his rejection by his homophobic family) can see how times have changed, and how Mr. Hernandez has no problems with being public about being gay.
    E) Congresswoman Giffords kept her “maiden” name–her husband (the astronaut) is Mark Edward Kelly.

  • Cam

    If the shooter was gay, every single paper would have mentioned this fact. The fact that the hero who saved her life is gay is being completely hidden in fact many of the news sites are screening out your comments if you use the word Gay.

    I think that it’s just very interesting to note, that the AZ Senator, McCain, said that people exactly like Mr. Hernandez would weaken and demoralize our military. So a hero like this guy is bad for our military according to McCain.

  • Black Pegasus

    @ewe: I agree with your first comment. His Sexuality is immaterial to this story.

    Anyone arguing otherwise clearly have an agenda to promote.

  • WillBFair

    Sweet Mother. You people will look for any excuse to downgrade our accomplishments.
    There is not a thing wrong with saying Hernandez is queer. Of course, all groups have good and bad people. But Hernandez is a credit to gay people and should be seen as such. He shows the very best of gay kindness and dedication. We have centuries of tradition of serving and caring for others. Open a book for a change, or walk to the hospital and chat with a few male nurses, or go see the lezbanims who run our local homeless project.
    If you can’t appreciate and celebrate the nobler aspects of gay culture, I feel sorry for y’all.
    Daniel is one of the finest examples of humanity, but also of gay humanity. I bless his name.

  • LisaJ

    The trolls are out in full force on this one!

  • TGC

    Well, I was going to say that I don’t think mentioning his sexuality is important at all. But then I see Gregor’s point in #24. Still think the opening paragraph of this story is a shitty thing to say. I was an EMT for about a dozen years and I never much cared, or thought about, what the patient’s positions were or what they might be. All were treated equally, as it were.

  • Btboy

    Yes, pointing his sexuality does make an impact, a positiev one, in atime when gay people are villanized for who we f*cking are. When people vote on our rights, and have million dollar spending budgets to campaign AGAINST our rights with commercials calling to ban gay marriage “for the kids”…as if gay people are some monsters. Yes, pointing out positive influences who are gay DOES positively influence society and their thinking.
    Ewe is just some homophobe looking to troll…as is ANYONE who is so personally insulted over him being gay being pointed out. You just would love to see nothing more than gay folks held back. That’s your whole sole purpose of visiting these blogs, to either pin gays against each other, or paint the gay story line as a bad one. We’re here to stay baby, and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Be loud, out and proud!

    Thank you David Hernandez hor your heroism and may you get the RIGHT to marry your partner in your state soon!

  • IonMusic

    @kjr: Because he IS a gay intern….you’re an idiot! He’s a proud gay intern who spent a good deal of his life working to promote gay rights, aligning himself with various gay orginizations. Not all of us stay in the closet (except for trolling craigslist, and adam4adam) like you. Some of us are just as proud to be gay as we are to be an American, because being gay has been put in the forefront not by us, but by divisive hetrosexuals, and whenever a sector of society singles out an inherent attribute of yours (you were born with) as a negative, people highlight that attribute as a positive and start taking pride in it. Just as we in the gay community are in 2011.

  • IonMusic

    @TGC: You’re completely choosing to ignore the point here because of your slant against gays. If you opened your heart and mind for one split second, you’d realize why it’s significant in this era that this modern day hero and his sexuality being noted is extremely relevant. You won’t do that because you have far too much disdain for gays, whether you realize it or not.

  • CarlCA

    Wait, we’re on a gay blog, the biggest news headline in the world features a gay man who risked his life to save other’s lives and some of you are angry over him being gay being mentioned?

    Those some of you are the same folks who ask gay people to not shove it down straight people’s throats. Who criticize Prop 8 activists before you criticize the church archaic stance on homosexuality. The same people who call yourselves “straight acting” and belittle effimine gays. The same people who see being openly gay, or mentioning it, as a direct link to dick in hole and not a celebration of love and companionship.

    Your issues is not with his sexuality being acknowledged. It’s with his sexuality ever being acknowledged outside his bedroom. Arguing the historic relevance of making mention of this mans sexuality is essentially arguing why anyone should ever come out in the first place.

  • TGC

    @IonMusic: Then why not use all of the adjectives to describe him, or do you have a problem with that? And no, as a gay man, I do not have a “disdain for gays”, just arrogant liberal ones who trash people who won’t bite on a pillow for them.

    And are we only equal human beings unless it’s good for PR purposes?

  • CarlCA

    @TGC: Gay republican. LOL. You all make us laugh. You’re identity crisis of not being accepted by either group leads you to do everything in your power to acculturate yourself with the hatemongers…even if it means trashing a perfectly well meaning GAY FRIENDLY story. Gay friendly < there's a word GOProud doesn't grasp unless it involves supporting politicians who are inclined to tap under restroom stalls.

    Gay republicans are as trustworthy as a chicken that eats at KFC.

  • IonMusic

    @CarlCA: yeah, the moment I read him go on a liberal rant, coupled with pillow biter, is the moment the a-hah moment went off.
    this poster is one of background is all too predictable:
    bible thumping conservative gay from a small town who has been brain washed by his narrow ilk on everything gay, and not that he’s slept with men, he is all of a sudden an authority on the subject of all gays. Nope, you’re still a small town, small minded closet case who’s only exposure to gay individuals is by (secretly) logging on gay sites. TGC, now go back to voting for the party that would rather you not even be an American citizen of this country you sheep. And find your back bone and self respect while walking to the booth, would you?

  • Real Talk

    @CarlCA: @IonMusic:

    CarLCA and Ionmusic- what makes either of you convinced TGC is gay? because he said so? Reread his bigoted comments. Do you know any gay man who would take time of his day to log on a gay site and write with that frame of mind? There’s this thing called trolls that lurk these sites and sniff out posts like this. Doesn’t mean they are gay, even if they claim to be. Just haters hating. Don’t be so easily fooled.

  • Aaron Larson

    I happen to care he’s gay. I happen to care about the tireless work he’s devoted into various LGBT groups. That anecdote is precisely why I visit this site. To get informed about gay people making differences in the world around me on this gay news blog. I don’t come here to learn or read about hetrosexuals, or closet cases or anything distorted inbetween. I log on ESPN to get stats on sports. I log on food network to find food recipes. I log on queerty to read about people who are gay, whether what they are doing is gay or not, or being gay in the storyline does not matter. The narrative for me when logging on gay themed news blogs is reading about gay people. Their advancements, accomplishments, trials, struggles, and kind gestures. If someones sexuality is not an aspect you want noted on this site, please leave and actively be a member of a nuetral geared site, but this site is by gay folks, for gays folks about gay folks. The moment it stops being that is the moment it is a deceptive website to which I and many others will discontinue visiting.
    I agree with other commentators. There’s either trolls polluting this story, or some really deluded people.

  • TGC

    Wow. Bitches can be so pathetically sad, it’s amusing. Kinda like watching Real Housewives in here.

    “Gay republicans are as trustworthy as a chicken that eats at KFC.”

    There’s that liberal originality for ya. Reread what you wrote. Are you sure you wanna stick with that?

    “Nope, you’re still a small town,”

    I’m a small town? Oh, I’m supposedly FROM a small town, based on your ASSumption. I correct my question then: Houston’s a small town???

    “who’s only exposure to gay individuals is by (secretly) logging on gay sites.”

    I’m fairly certain that The Montrose, Heaven, JR’s, Pacific Street, Montrose Mining Company, Ripcord etc. are not “gay sites”. Met my partner at Pacific Street.

    “And find your back bone and self respect while walking to the booth, would you?”

    Which is EXACTLY why I can’t vote for the massuhs that keep the gays tied up on the plantation. Just like the battered women I used to treat. “But he says he loves me!”. No self-respect there.

    “Reread his bigoted comments.”

    You mean when I agreed with Gregor? I was gonna agree with some of what BTBoy said, but your moonbatshitcrazy HATE and tolerance™ distracted.

  • TGC

    @Aaron Larson: Well, I was going to reply with how I thought we were talking about the media in general, based on Ion’s first comment. However, these queens don’t dig thought criminals who aren’t conditioned to believe as they do. Even if you agree with some of what they say, you’re a homophobic bigot. Must march in lockstep. It’s all or nothing. It’s boring.

  • Burt

    ewe: [email protected]Jeffree:

    If Daniel was my son, I’d be a very proud straight, white father, 62 and retired in Palm Springs, anyway. His sexual orientation is of no consequence to me, but if I were homophobic I would use his actions to lessen my bigotry (at least I hope I would). Frankly, I think the kid is a hero who is probably headed for a great future, anD I feel happy for him and enthusiastically applaud him and others like him

  • ramshead

    What’s the point?

  • JACK


Comments are closed.