KINGSTON, Jamaica – A 21-year-old convicted in the Washington-area sniper shootings four years ago left Jamaica in his early teens and moved to another Caribbean island before migrating to the United States, his father and Jamaican officials said.
Lee Boyd Malvo, then 17, was arrested with Army veteran John Allen Muhammad as they slept at a roadside rest stop near Frederick, Md. Police charged the two in a three-week series of sniper attacks in the suburban Washington D.C. area that left 10 people dead.
"[That] morning I woke up and heard the news and I said 'That sounds like my son,'" said Leslie Malvo, 55, a building contractor in Kingston, Jamaica.
"He was a nice kid so I don't know how he got mixed up in this," he told The Associated Press at a street corner near his home in the city's central Waltham Park neighborhood.
"I feel bad, I can't feel anything else."
Jamaica's Foreign Affairs Ministry said a Lee Boyd Malvo is registered as having been born in Kingston on Feb. 18, 1985, to Una James and Leslie Samuel Malvo, and a Lee Malvo attended high school in Jamaica before emigrating to another Caribbean island in 1998 at age of 13. There was no immediate explanation for the different versions of his name.
"Local school records show no evidence of disruptive behavior and point to the attainment of an academic standard that was satisfactory," a statement from the ministry said.
Leslie Malvo said he last saw his son in 1998.
"He was a happy kid, good kid, liked school, never got into any trouble," he said.
Media reports say Malvo and Muhammad met in Antigua, where the independent Observer Radio reported that Muhammad lived around 1999. It quoted unidentified bank tellers saying Muhammad had an account on the island, which has been criticized by the United States for lax supervision in a tax-free haven.
U.S. authorities said Malvo listed Muhammad as his father — apparently a stepfather — when he enrolled in high school in Bellingham, Wash., last year.
Rohan Malvo, a 33-year-old cabinet maker and son of Leslie Malvo, remembered changing the diapers of a half brother he called "Lee."
"Somebody saw a photograph of him today and said we resemble each other," he told the AP in Waltham Park, where they lived when they were children. It's a working-class neighborhood with concrete slab houses and some tin shacks, where stray dogs roam and children play on potholed streets.
"It was all right growing up in that part of Kingston," he said. "It's a rough neighborhood but our father raised us right. He tried his best to put the food on the table. He was there for us."
He said Malvo was 5 or 6 years old when his mother moved from the neighborhood.
Police traced Malvo to a house in Tacoma, Wash. that was searched. He had been living in the house with Muhammad, sources said.
Classmates who remember Malvo from a three-month attendance at Bellingham High School said he was studious, polite and well-dressed — but did not make any friends.
"He would speak up and he would tell his opinion. You don't get that from many high school students," said Chrissie Greenawalt, who went to a writing class with Malvo. "I thought that was cool."