Worker at downtown loft complex is lured to her death by a resident, who is later killed by police

Lisa Ramirez was the heart and soul of the Flower Street Lofts.

Every day, she would travel from her home in Pico Rivera to keep the sprawling loft complex — a former UPS distribution center — clean.

She struggled for years with learning disabilities, her family said, and she prized the groundskeeping job. At 32, she was about to get married and was excited about the future.

“She loved life. She loved to laugh. She would call and tell me about the beautiful view and people she helped every day,” says her mother, Virginia Ramirez. “Lisa, she had accomplished so much.”

Then on Tuesday just after 3 p.m., Ramirez was working in the open-air courtyard of the complex in the 1100 block of Flower Street, located across from Staples Center and LA Live, when one of the tenants, Michael Rogers, ushered her into his unit, police said.

What exactly was said isn’t known.

But security cameras captured Ramirez following Rogers out of the courtyard, her mother said an investigator told her. A few minutes later, Rogers dragged Ramirez into his apartment.

Minutes later, Ramirez was dead of multiple stab wounds. Her body was found in Rogers’ apartment after he was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers on a nearby street.

Authorities allege that moments after killing Ramirez, Rogers walked out of the lofts and across the street to a high-rise residential tower where he made his way to the 15th floor and tried to gain access to a balcony in an apparent effort to commit suicide by jumping off.

Police say building security kicked him out.

Witnesses told police that Rogers then wandered into an exercise studio carrying a large kitchen knife, frightening class attendees and instructors.

Shortly after 5 p.m., a security guard saw Rogers try to carjack an L.A. City Department of Transportation officer, but the officer was able to fend him off.

After the attempt, the Department of Transportation officer waved down two LAPD traffic officers, who confronted the knife-wielding Rogers on Hope Street between 11th and 12th streets.

Rogers lunged at the driver’s side of the police cruiser with the knife. The officer at the wheel sped forward and made a U-turn, but Rogers entered a nearby store, frightening customers who scrambled to get away.

He then exited the business and was confronted by officers.

“Rogers continued to walk toward the officers still armed with the large knife,” the police department said in a statement Friday.

Standing behind the passenger door of his police cruiser, Officer David Machain yelled at Rogers to stop, police said.

But Rogers ran toward Machain with the knife, screaming, “I’m going to kill you.” Machain again ordered Rogers to stop. But police said he kept advancing, to within a few feet of the officer.

That’s when Machain fired several rounds at Rogers, who fell in the middle of the street.

A neighbor in an apartment captured the moment on a phone camera from a second-floor window. Rogers was declared dead at a hospital, according to LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman said.

Several minutes later, Rogers’ girlfriend discovered Ramirez’s body in their apartment.

The violence has stunned residents in the lofts as well as the larger South Park neighborhood of downtown, a fast-growing, fast-gentrifying area around Staples Center.

Police are still trying to determine a motive for the attack on Ramirez and are looking into Rogers’ background, Neiman said.

According to court records, in 2013 Rogers was convicted of domestic violence in two separate incidents involving partners. He received 45 days in jail for one and a year for the other plus five years’ probation. In 2015, he was arrested again for alleged domestic abuse of a girlfriend. That case was still pending.

Ramirez’s family is left struggling to understand how she could lose her life doing what she loved.

“It was a nice safe place. When Lisa accepted the job she was overjoyed,” recalled her mother. “You just don’t know anymore …. Who would want to harm Lisa?”


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10 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the LAPD.

This article was originally published at 8:55 a.m.

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