Tampa mother waits for word about son shot in prison - FOX 13 News

Tampa mother waits for word about son shot in prison

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The devotion Joann Billups has to her 24-year-old son, Dashandre, is measured in miles.

She makes two trips a month from Tampa to a jail outside Jacksonville.

"Losing sleep, not concentrating, (not) focusing on my job, worrying is he ok?"

She's gone from losing sleep to not sleeping at all.

"I received a phone call Monday from a family member stating she heard my son was shot," Billups said.

She learned her son Dashandre Billups was one of two inmates shot, two days after the Saturday shooting at Columbia Correctional in Lake City.

She's heard nothing on condition, who shot him or why -- only that he has been moved to the prison in Starke.

"Is he wondering, am I here for him?" she asked. "I am, and they won't give me a chance to tell him that."

When Dashandre Billups was sentenced in 2010 to 20 years for armed robbery and grand theft, Grady Irvin was his attorney.

"He didn't get sentenced to being shot," said Irvin. "How does one get a gun, a firearm into a prison facility?"

Irvin has written a letter to Governor Rick Scott, demanding not only that Joann Billups get answers on her son's condition, but that the governor get answers.

Irvin wants a governor's task force to investigate the competency of prison guards and the procedures they follow.

"This is a glaring example of oversight and incompetence," Irvin said.

Billups understands her son is in jail for a reason, but argues she shouldn't be punished with the pain of not knowing how serious her son's gunshot wounds are.

"Just a hello. Just, just let me hear his voice."

FDLE will only say that two inmates were injured in an incident on Saturday and that they're investigating.

Officials have recovered a gun, but they won't say how it got in or who pulled the trigger.

Late Wednesday, the governor's office issued this statement:

"All of our law enforcement and corrections officers in our prisons do a great job. Your heart goes out to anybody that is ever injured. They're doing the right thing. They're doing an investigation. They will find out what the problem was and they will solve it."

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