During a Friday press conference, Pima County deputies described arriving Jan. 8 to an unnaturally silent disaster scene where medical experts took what seemed like forever to arrive.

The deputies credited first-aid kits and recent training with giving them a chance to help the shooting victims that day.

"Without those tools, we would have been like everybody else, just holding pressure on gunshot wounds," said Gilbert Caudillo, one of the first deputies on the scene.

When Deputy Ryan Inglett arrived, he said, the shooter already had been arrested.

"We mostly went straight for medical care," he said.

That was key because the emergency medical personnel who responded quickest to the shooting area at Ina and Oracle were held back for several minutes until officers ensured the scene was safe.

"It felt like forever," Caudillo said, even though it was only six or seven minutes.

Department officials said they established a training program and began passing out small kits of first-aid materials about six months ago. The kits include emergency bandages, tourniquets, combat gauze, trauma shears for cutting off clothes, and a seal to cover up chest wounds. The materials cost less than $100 per kit.

For people who were bleeding profusely especially, these products helped to stanch the flow and stabilize their blood pressure and heart rates, said Dr. Katherine Hiller, a University Medical Center emergency-room physician.

Contact reporter Tim Steller at 807-8427 or at tsteller@azstarnet.com