The way that I had crouched down on the ground, both of my legs fell asleep, because I was in such a weird, awkward position. And it was a little bit of time before the paramedics arrived, because the authorities have to make sure the coast is clear. Once the EMTs came in, I tried not to get in their way. They told me, “Hold her in the same position.” I did that. They were taking care of her medical needs. I wanted to take care of her emotional needs: “I know you’re in a lot of pain, honey, but just stay still. They’re trying to help. Do you understand that the police are here? There’s not going to be any more shooting. Squeeze my hand. The ambulances are on their way. Do you understand that?” I was trying to keep her calm and informed, because I know Gabby’s an inquisitive person, and she would want to know exactly what was going on, because she couldn’t open her eyes and see for herself.
Originally we were going to be airlifted to University Medical Center. However, I saw that there was an ambulance there. I said, “What’s the ETA on the air evac?” They didn’t respond, probably because they didn’t know. I took that as too long. I said, “She’s number one priority. We need to get her out of here—now.” They put her on a board. They told me, “We don’t want you to go in the ambulance. There’s no room.” I said, “You’d better make room.” On the way, I continued to talk to her. I told her, “I’m on the phone right now trying to get ahold of Mark”—her husband—”and your mom and dad here in Tucson. Do you understand that?” Especially when I mentioned her parents and Mark, she squeezed extra tight.
Daniel Hernandez, one of three heroes during the Tuscon shooting who provided a second-by-second account of what they witnessed on that Sunday morning to GQ’s Amy Wallace. You might think by now you’ve heard the whole story, but this tense, vivid oral history will prove otherwise. Today’s must-read.