CHINO (CBSLA) — Firefighter Chris Wetzel was just enjoying some country music when he saw a woman shot.
He could tell almost right away that she died. A friend of his also died that night.
Almost immediately his skills as a first responder kicked in.
He said he saw things that will be hard to shake.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve witnessed death before but never seen it on this magnitude,” Wetzel said.
He was at the concert with his wife and a large group of friends. Initially, they thought fireworks were being set off.
“When the second round went off Jason Aldean stopped suddenly and I look over and see a lady few feet away down on the ground I could tell she was deceased right away. That’s when I knew it was a shooting. I grabbed my wife and said get down,” said Wetzel.
Chris says when they got up they started helping a man shot in the stomach and the shots started again.
“This time it got crazy because I was hearing the whizzing of the bullets. They were hitting the asphalt and you could see the asphalt popping up. At that point, me and two gentleman got on top of this guy to help protect him and that was the one moment when I was kind of acceptant I wasn’t going to make it out of there,” he said.
His friend — a wife and mother named Hannah Ahlers — was near the stage and was killed.
“I known her about 24 years. Her smile was contagious,” Wetzel said.
Before the shooting, Chris’ wife wanted to be near the stage but had on flip-flops.
“She wanted to go up there but she didn’t want to get her feet trampled,” Wetzel said.
Chris says he told his wife to run from the concert to safety and he stayed behind with another firefighter to help.
“We said you want to go back and we said yeah said let’s go back, let’s do this,” Wetzel says.
They helped load people into cars. Now they’re helping Ahlers’ family raise money. There will be a car wash Saturday for Hannah’s family and a GoFundMe link.