Doc was feet from Giffords, aided others in 'surreal' scene

2011-01-09T00:00:00Z Doc was feet from Giffords, aided others in 'surreal' sceneStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 09, 2011 12:00 am  • 

A doctor on the scene of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who helped render aid and subdue the shooter called the events "surreal."

Dr. Steven Rayle, a hospice doctor who used to work in the emergency department at St. Mary's Hospital, went to the event hoping to meet the congresswoman.

Rayle said he was walking toward her and was about eight to 10 feet away when a man came up to her side and shot her in the head.

There was no warning, he said, and the man didn't say a word.

The congresswoman fell to the ground, and a staff member ran to her side. She was conscious, and he saw her sitting up against a wall - signs he considered encouraging.

He said he heard another 15 to 20 rounds.

Rayle immediately dropped to the ground. He said there appeared to be people who died at the scene, including a man who was lying face-down. There were jackets over the heads of two or three people, and Rayle said he saw someone performing CPR on a little girl who appeared to be about 8 years old.

He helped hold the suspect down after other witnesses tackled and disarmed him. Rayle said he helped with wound compression and CPR, as did many others on the scene.

"It was surreal. Gunshots sound less real in person," he said. "I thought someone was staging a protest. It just didn't feel real."

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