Man mistakenly shot by Indianapolis officer says he's 'conflicted'

Says he won't let actions of 1 man taint all IMPD
Posted at 1:14 PM, Aug 26, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS --  The man mistakenly shot by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer says he's "conflicted" on how to feel, and that while his life has been changed by this unfortunate incident, he doesn't want one individual's actions to represent the entire police department. 

Carl Williams and his attorneys, Raimey & Hailey, spoke at a press conference for the first time since early Tuesday morning when he was shot in the upper groin, which was originally reported as the stomach, by an IMPD officer who mistook him for a reported carjacker at Williams' address.

Prior to the shooting, Williams called 911 asking for police help after his wife reported being approached by a man with a long rifle, demanding her car. 

Williams, 48, appeared at the press conference in a wheelchair, and says he is still in a significant amount of pain. He has been released from the hospital, where they made a decision to keep the bullet inside his body for the time-being. Options will be discussed during medical check-ups going forward as to whether to keep it in long-term or not.

The attorneys retained to represent Williams said multiple times during the press conference that they are not disputing physical facts of the case. 

Williams first spoke at the press conference about what he remembered about being shot.

"The only thing I can remember is intense pain, falling on the ground, and telling police officers 'I am the homeowner, why did you shoot me?'" Williams said.

Williams' attorney was not able to provide clarity on what happened between the time Williams said "is that him?" on a 911 call to police before hanging up and when he was shot in his home's driveway by a police officer.

"When I made that 911 call, I expected the police to come help us. I didn't want to take justice into my own hands, that's the wrong thing to do, that's the police's job," Williams said.

Williams told dispatchers the suspect had on a red shirt with a long rifle. When Williams was shot, he said he had a black shirt and a pair of blue jeans. 

The officer that shot Williams was Christopher Mills, a 9-year veteran of the force. He has been placed on leave, as is standard in any officer-involved shooting.

Attorneys for Williams said that the officer did not announce himself in any way, citing the police investigation of the incident. Williams said he knew police were there after he was shot by them, and after he had "about 3 million spotlights in my face."

"It doesn't seem from the police investigation that there was any warning at all," said Richard Hailey, a founding attorney with Ramey and Hailey. Hailey went on to say there is "some agreement" with police on that fact.

At the time he was shot, Williams said he had his gun in his right hand, but at his side. 

Williams' attorney went on to say that one officer discharged his weapon at least two times, striking Williams once.

A statement has been given by Williams to IMPD as part of the investigation, and Williams did release a formal statement publicly about the incident, in which he thanked police and first responders for their professionalism. 

Throughout the 911 call made by Williams, multiple officers responded and dispatchers told those officers the suspect was last seen in a black car at the home.

Officers were unaware that the black car still sitting in the driveway when they arrived was actually Williams' wife's vehicle.

Once officers arrived and saw a black car with its headlights on, they began looking for the suspect, according to IMPD.

IMPD said when police saw Williams come out of the garage with a handgun, Williams was shot as the officer mistook him for the robber. Officers approached the scene without sirens, tactically, with their weapons drawn based on the circumstances of the 911 call.

According to the statement released Thursday afternoon by an attorney on behalf of Williams the family asked the community to pray for not only their family but the police officers involved.

"As a husband and father with a 16 year career at the post office Mr. Williams is an integral part of our Indianapolis community and the Williams family appreciates all of the warm wishes expressed to them by Hoosiers throughout the state. Less than 72 hours after celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, the Williamses’ world was completely changed by the events of August 23," the statement read.

The family thanked first responders and medical personnel at IU Methodist Hospital in addition to acknowledging the professionalism shown by Indianapolis police.

Williams previously served as a police officer in the military for eight years and his attorney said he understands the challenges faced by law enforcement.

He said he has been "overwhelmed" by the love and support of the community. 

When asked if he will call the police again, Williams said he would. 

"I'm not going to let the actions or inaction of one individual try to taint the whole police department," Williams said.

As for what's next, Williams' attorneys wouldn't elaborate on if lawsuits would be forthcoming, but he mentioned needing to complete a full survey of the facts and a grasp on the medical bills.

"We see enough to conclude that the city may have some responsibility in this situation, but I don't want to jump ahead and say we'll file tort claims notice prematurely" Hailey said.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with him and the rest of the family," said Randal Taylor, the assistant chief of investigations for IMPD. "Just an unfortunate occurrence."

"Im conflicted," Williams said. "Obviously I'm in a lot of pain. I don't want to put anyone in a bad light. The police have a very tough job, we all know this. I guess, I'm torn, because before you pick up any firearm and point it at someone, you have to be sure what you're going to do."

Williams had this to say about the suspected carjacker who remains at-large:

"It's simple, you're going to get caught. My life is in turmoil, because they did the wrong thing," Williams said.

Anyone with information about the robbery suspect described as a black male, light complexion, wearing a red and white jacket and a dark colored ball cap is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Indiana at (317) 262.8477 or TIPS. He is believed to be armed with a long rifle.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department extended its collective thoughts and prayers with Williams as he recuperates from his injuries. Members of the Command Response Team remain available to provide the family comfort and understanding during this difficult time.

Per department policy, IMPD's Internal Affairs Unit and the Critical Incident Response Team have opened two separate investigations into the shooting.