February 6th, 2013
08:25 AM ET

Intern's memoir recalls Giffords shooting

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Daniel Hernandez Jr. isn't your typical 23-year-old.

On January 8, 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a "Congress on Your Corner" event in Tucson, Arizona, featuring U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Since he had some medical training, Hernandez ran toward the gunfire to tend to victims, realized Giffords was shot on the left side of her head and used his bare hands to keep her from losing more blood. Six people died and 13 people were injured, including Giffords, who is still recuperating.

That was Hernandez's first week interning for Giffords. He was only 20.

He's been credited with saving Giffords' life and recognized as a hero, although he rejects the title.

Since the tragedy, Hernandez's life hasn't been the same: It's involved interviews, meeting the president and first lady, and national fame. After graduating from the University of Arizona, he was elected to serve on a school board in Tucson but also travels the country as an inspirational speaker.

Now, in a heartfelt memoir, "They Call Me a Hero: A Memoir of My Youth," the Tucson native speaks in detail of the shooting, the experiences that have helped shaped him and why he doesn't want to be called a hero.

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