One of the civilians who was shot Sunday morning during a deadly exchange of gunfire at a neighboring apartment told 9NEWS he crouched in his home and protected his wife.

Neighbor Farook Patail said he was shot in the shoulder as bullets flew from Matthew Riehl's rifle.

Farook says he was on his bed when he saw a muzzle flash and then felt a burn.

One of several bullets from the firefight broke through his bedroom window, lodging itself in his shoulder.

"Big loud gunshots. Boom, boom, boom, boom, and I can hear the flare because it's dark, and then all these pellets and bullets come through my window," Patail recalled. "I was hit right here on my left. It was like a bump."

The bullet that hit Farook appears to have passed through his bedroom window.

"I live or I die, and I thought what about my wife," he said.

Farook says the bullet lodged itself next to his shoulder joint, so doctors can't remove it until it moves closer to his skin.

"Of course it's scary," he said.

Farook said he's not familiar with Riehl, as he just moved across from his apartment in March.

He says doctors told him his heart rate was above 200 beats per minute when they got to him.

The identity and condition of the other civilian hurt in the gunfire is unknown.