18-year-old accused of killing two Durham teens makes first court appearance. What we know.

Hours after his arrest, the 18-year-old accused of murder in the shooting deaths of two Durham teenagers made his first appearance in court.

Thursday morning, Jorge Raul Benitez-Mendoza, 18, of Durham, appeared via Zoom before Judge Clayton Jones for two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Although the prosecution stated he has no prior criminal record, due to the severity of the charges, Mendoza was denied bail.

He will appear in court again on April 13 for a probable cause hearing and will be represented by the public defender’s office.

Mendoza is a student at Riverside High School, according to the prosecution and works part-time at a local Walmart.

Mendoza’s step-sister was in court Thursday but declined to comment, citing concerns for her safety.

Mendoza’s arrest came almost 24 hours after the Durham community learned three teens had been involved in a deadly shooting near Brogden Middle School.

Police respond to shooting near a middle school

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, police responded to a call about a 16-year-old boy who had been shot. His parents took him to a local hospital, where police said Wednesday he was in stable condition with life-threatening injuries.

The teen said two others might have been shot, so officials deployed a drone and a cadaver dog overnight. Shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, police found the bodies of two 16-year-old boys near the intersection, which is north of Interstate 85.

Durham Public Schools confirmed that the two teens were Angel Canales, who was a freshman at Riverside High School, and Osmar Banegas, a freshman at Lakeview School, an alternative school in the Durham system.

The shootings do not appear to be a random act, police said.

Police did not provide additional details, including whether Mendoza knew the three teens who were shot.

Durham police spokeswoman Crystal Price said Police Chief Patrice Andrews wasn’t available for comment when contacted by The News & Observer on Wednesday.