When a teenager paid her mother a surprise visit after returning from college early, she probably expected a shriek of delight and a big hug.

Unfortunately, her mother mistook her for an intruder and shot her.

Startled by the "stranger" coming through her bedroom door at 9pm, the unnamed US woman grabbed her licenced .38 calibre handgun and wounded her 18-year-old child.

Police were called to the woman's home in Girard, Ohio, by the boyfriend of the victim, who was treated in hospital for a bullet wound to her arm.

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In his call to emergency services he said: "My girlfriend just came home from college and her mum didn't know. She accidentally shot her. It's pretty bad."

Police found the girl covered in blood with a towel around her injured arm.

They said the mother was alone in her house last Friday when she heard noises downstairs.

She became scared because she wasn't expecting company, and simply opened fire when the girl came in.