Early on Tuesday in Indianapolis, Carl Williams, 48, was informed by his wife that she had just been carjacked by a man with a rifle. Williams then did what any civilian would do and phoned the police. When officers arrived on the scene, Williams opened the garage door to let in the officers and he was immediately shot in the stomach.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) has labeled the shooting an accident and said their officers mistook Williams for the carjacking suspect.
Officer Christopher Mills was the officer who pulled the trigger. When Mills and his fellow officers arrived at the house, they saw a black car with its lights on. On their way to the house, dispatch informed them that the armed suspect was last seen in a black car. Upon arrival, they assumed the car, which actually belonged to the wife, was the suspect’s car. When Williams opened the garage, allegedly holding a gun, Mills believed he was the suspect and shot in “self-defense.”
Now Williams is undergoing treatment for his severe gunshot wound to the gut and everyone is trying to make sense of yet another shooting of a Black man in America. The reason why this shooting is so important is because it highlights the fear that many Black people have about dealing with police. Williams was shot in his home in a working class neighborhood of Indianapolis.
The shooting of Carl Williams, although unjust like Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, represents a different interaction that Black people can have with police. Yes, police claim that Williams had a gun during the moment he was shot; however, were all the necessary steps taken by police to make sure no innocent life was harmed?
Did the police yell, “Police, drop your weapon?” Did they ask Williams to put his hand in the air? Did they try to figure out who this man was? Did they see a gun pointed at them?
An audio recording was taken of the dispatchers and police units. As an officer communicates with the dispatcher, someone screams, “Shots fired, shots fired!” It’s hard to tell what happened directly before that moment, but a thorough investigation made by the IMPD's Internal Affairs Unit and the Special Investigations Unit should soon provide details that this case is missing.
IMPD Assistant Chief Randall Taylor said in a press conference, "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. 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."
As far as we know, the robbery suspect is still at large and Williams is still receiving treatment for the gunshot wound he endured yesterday. Mills is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Investigators have not yet spoken to Williams.
(Photo: Juanmonino/Getty Images)