Still no answers in Fla. prison shooting - FOX 13 News

Still no answers in Fla. prison shooting

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

In Joann Billups' hands is a letter written in her son's own handwriting.

"I know this might sound crazy, but I've been shot," the letter from Deshandre Billups said. "I'm so lost and mad but happy that I'm still alive."

The Tampa man is serving two decades for armed robbery.

He said in the letter that he was shot in the leg. Knowing he's well enough to write is a relief to his mother.

"I've been suffering ever since I have been waiting," said Joann Billups. "I have just been so stressed, stressed out and depressed."

The shooting's other victim is Kirk Cartwright, who is serving life for murder in Broward County.

We spoke to his sister, Monique Thompson, by phone from the Bahamas.

"Why is there a gun inside of the prison? How did a gun get inside the prison?"

Thompson said she was told no visits are allowed because Cartwright is under investigation.

"My brother is no saint. If you do the crime, you will spend the time, but he is still human at the end of the day," she told us.

Their attorney, Grady Irvin, said the two were targeted by a third inmate.

He wants to get to the bottom of how a gun got in the facility.

"There is integrity in the process of operating our prison system, and that has been called into question," Irvin said.

Irvin is demanding the governor appoint a task force to find out whether the shooting is symptomatic of larger problems with the state prison system.

He's also considering a lawsuit.

"Sometimes, the only way we can rectify a wrong or get better procedures in place is to initiate litigation and see it through," he said.

Like Cartwright's sister, Joann Billups said being denied contact with a wounded relative is inhumane.

"I wrote him a letter yesterday and I put a stamped envelope inside, and I told him to please write me," she said.

Irvin said this isn't only important for the safety of the inmates but also for the safety of the prison guards.

Neither FDLE nor the Department of Corrections will comment on how a gun got in or who pulled the trigger.

The governor's office said they have received the letters from Irvin.

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