DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Bond was denied Thursday for an 18-year-old charged with killing two ninth-graders.
Jorge Raul Benitez-Mendoza, of Durham, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, police said. He appeared in a Durham County Courtroom for his first appearance on Thursday morning.
On Wednesday morning, police discovered the bodies of two 16-year-old boys near the intersection of Hudson Avenue and North Buchanan Boulevard: Angel Caneles Quintana, who attended Riverside High School, and Osmar Burgos Banegas, who attended Lakeview School.
Durham police said they had been shot.
Shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, officers responded nearby to the 1200 block of Leon St. where it was reported that a different 16-year-old male had been shot, police said.
The victim’s parents took him to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries.
He is in stable condition, according to police.
Police said that the victim told them there may have been two additional victims who had been shot.
The Durham Fire Department deployed a drone for several hours and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office sent out their cadaver dog to search the area for additional victims, and eventually found Quintana and Banegas.
Benitez-Mendoza was arrested later on Wednesday.
CBS 17 spoke with the defendant’s sister, Carolina, off camera after court. She said her sibling had a history of acting up as a child but doesn’t believe he’s the person who committed the crime.
The City of Durham has seen 17 homicides and 15 children shot less than three months into the year.
Now, City Council members are again searching for solutions to end gun violence among local youth.
At Thursday’s work session, Mayor Elaine O’Neal said leaders are doing their best, but it’s not enough.
“I don’t have any words because it always takes me back to my days on the bench and when I lost three kids in one week,” she said. “I just sort of shut down.”
The mayor called on nonprofits to guide students on the right path while they’re out of class for the summer.
She said she’s trying to pull together voices who advocate for gun violence prevention to try and fill in the gaps.
“I don’t think that there could be enough ideas,” Council member Leonardo Williams said during Thursday’s meeting. “We need to keep generating those ideas on what can be done.”