Indiana police stand guard while armed with assault weapons. (file photo)
An African American man has been shot by US police in the state of Indiana, where he remains hospitalized to fight for his life.
The 48-year-old man identified as Carl Williams was shot by a senior cop, identified as Christopher Mills, who was called to his home in Indianapolis to deal with a reported car-jacking case.
The police officer, who is said to have nine years of experience, opened fire on the man as he allegedly, mistook him for the assailant.
According to the dispatching team of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Williams called 911, reporting that his wife was assaulted by a "black male in a red shirt armed with a rifle" who had demanded their car keys before stealing their black Nissan Sentra.
After Mills and his colleague arrived at the spot, they found a black car with its headlights on in the front drive.
As one was checking the number plate, Williams opened the garage door upon which he was shot in the abdomen by Mills.
"First and foremost this is a tragic incident, involving a homeowner attempting to protect his family and the IMPD officers trying to do the same thing,” said assistant chief Randal Taylor. "And of course our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the homeowner and the family, who was mistakenly shot by our officer and we wish him a quick recovery."
Meanwhile the true assailant was "still at large," according to police.
"They made observations based on information known at that time. The time of day, the early morning hours and low level lighting caused vision to be limited,” Taylor said.
"The officer involved was a nine-year veteran of the east district late shift. Again this was tragic and unforeseen. I don't know of any officer who goes out wanting to get into a shootout with anyone, but especially not as in this case a homeowner."
The use of unnecessary force by police against African Americans in cities from Ferguson to Baltimore and New York has sparked nationwide protests in the past two years, giving birth to the Black Lives Matter movement.