An Indianapolis teenager was shot dead by a family member in what police are treating as an accidental shooting.

Eugene Dobbins was killed as he was trying to sneak back into his home in the east of the city early on Sunday morning (1 October). But he woke sleeping family members who confronted him.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police were called to the house at 4.15am to find a teen lying inside the door of his home with a gunshot wound.

Dobbins, whose age has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The residents were awakened by the sounds in the house," police officer Jim Gillespie told local broadcaster RTV6. "Believing it to be an intruder and they responded as such."

A family member told police that they thought everyone who was supposed to be home was already in the house, and that someone was trying to break in.

"This is one of the more tragic shootings I've been on," said Gillespie. "It's looking like a very tragic accidental shooting of a family member."

Detectives are not releasing which family member shot the teenager.

Two members of the household were taken to Indianapolis police headquarters for questioning. Police said they will work with the local prosecutor's office to determine whether charges will be filed.

In January last year, an Ohio father shot and killed his teenage son, after also mistaking him for an intruder.

According to his father, 14-year-old Georta Mack left for school in the morning, but later sneaked back through the basement, unbeknownst to his father, said Cincinnati police.

"I just shot my son by accident," Mack's father told a 911 operator on a recording. "He scared me. I thought he was in school. I heard noise and then I went downstairs looking. He jumped out at me. I shot him."

"Oh God. Oh God. Why didn't you go to school?," the father is heard saying.

Georta was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center where he later died.