GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - A police officer in Grand Prairie was killed in a late-night crash Monday, and police are still looking for the suspect.
The Grand Prairie Police Department said Officer Brandon Tsai was near the intersection of Belt Line and Pioneer Parkway when he spotted a silver Chevy Malibu displaying a fake paper license plate. When Officer Tsai attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled.
Tsai lost control of his car during the five-mile chase after clipping another officer's vehicle. That driver sped away. Officer Tsai hit a light post. He died at Dallas Methodist hospital.
Officer Brandon Tsai
The officer in the other vehicle was treated for minor injuries.
During an update on Tuesday afternoon, Grand Prairie Police Chief Daniel Scesney revealed a photo of the vehicle Tsai was chasing, a silver 2012-2016 Chevy Malibu with black rims paint/cosmetic damage to the upper rear passenger side post, next to the rear windshield, a rectangular object or reflector that is raised on the right rear passenger side, near the bumper seam, tinted windows and likely has a temporary fictitious license plate.
"We are asking for the public's help identifying the driver of this vehicle," said Chief Scesney.
Grand Prairie Crime Stoppers is offering $10,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest.
Chief Scesnsey called on Texas lawmakers to do more about the issue of fake paper plates. He said the plate, 0330S43 with an expiration date of Sept. 2022, has conservatively been used more than 200 times.
"This is a systemic problem across the state of Texas," he said. "We have fictitious tags all over the place and, quite frankly, it cost a police officer his life."
When asked if the Grand Prairie's chase policy will be looked at because of the crash, Chief Scesney responded sharply.
"I don't see anything wrong with what that officer did. Full stop. Period," he said.
The 32-year-old Tsai started with Grand Prairie PD in January after serving several years with the Los Angeles Police Department.
"Our nation lost a hero last night. Officer Brandon Tsai represented the very best among us and laid down his life protecting this city and all those who live within it. Our hearts are broken but we are grateful to all those who have extended their thoughts and prayers to Brandon’s family including his entire extended family who wear blue," said Chief Scesney in a statement.
Tsai had family in Hong Kong and Las Vegas but chose to come to North Texas, according to Grand Prairie police. His organs will be donated.
Mayor Ron Jensen sent his condolences to his family, saying it is a sad day for the entire city.
"The troops took it tough. We're a family and a lot of things have to happen. We pulled all the shift in from day shift to come in and take over for the shift that was working so that they could be together, stay together or go home or whatever. So it was a late night," Mayor Jensen said. "We're going to respect and do what's necessary this week and only what's necessary until we get him laid to rest."
Some of Officer Tsai's colleagues have already left flowers on a police vehicle that's parked outside the department.
Chief Scesney also thanked the community for the support they have shown the department.
"They need to be recognized," said Bradley Adkins, who came to the Grand Prairie Police Department to mourn.
"He's going to be missed. He's up there with the lord now," said fellow mourner Bill Wright.
Albert Castaneda Sr. was one of the community members who came to the police station to pay their respects.
His son, Grand Prairie officer AJ Castaneda died in 2019 after being struck by a car while running radar.
"I just came here to pay my respects to the officer. He was a real nice guy. I met him. I wish the family well," said Castaneda.
A candlelight vigil for Tsai is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at the Grand Prairie Police Department. The public is encouraged to attend.