10 Hero Dads Who Risked Everything To Fight Back Against Crime

In the face of violence against their families, these fathers stood tall — and some took the ultimate fall. When it comes to defending the innocent from criminal threats, these 10 dads who acted out of loving instinct are absolute heroes.

June 14, 2019
By: Mike McPadden

Ex-NFL Dad Tony Beckham Tackled & Held Down Alleged Peeping Tom Outside His Daughter’s Window

WELLINGTON, FL — Authorities said they arrested Geoffrey Cassidy, 48, for allegedly peeking into and masturbating outside a teenage girl’s window in January 2019 — but only after the alleged victim’s father, former Detroit Lion Tony Beckham, reportedly caught the suspect in the act and took him to the ground.

According to police, Beckham noticed a man outside his 14-year-old daughter’s window. Beckham reportedly told deputies the man was looking into the girl’s room as she was getting dressed, and that the accused was “making a motion consistent with masturbating” while his “butt” was visible.

Beckham reportedly said that he yelled and the suspect took off, prompting the ex-footballer to give chase, tackle the man, and hold him for police.

After police charged Cassidy for lewd and lascivious behavior, he reportedly was treated for a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.

Talking to WPTV later on, Beckham said he was just doing what comes naturally, stating, “Who else is going to take care of them? They’re my kids. I grew up without a dad. To see a man out there belittling himself to get a fix off a kid? That’s morally wrong to me. Maybe I stopped him from doing something more serious to another kid.” [CrimeFeed]

After The Murder Of His Son, Adam, John Walsh Dedicated His Life To Helping Victims & Bringing Perpetrators To Justice

HOLLYWOOD, FL — The 1981 abduction and murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh was the embodiment of every parent’s worst fears.

In the wake of that tragedy, though, society began to have greater awareness and undertake more action on behalf of missing and exploited children. Leading that very charge for decades now is no less a personally invested parent than John Walsh, Adam’s father.

Walsh transformed himself into a criminal investigator, victims' rights advocate, and, most famously, a television personality by creating and hosting 25 seasons of America’s Most Wanted.

More recently, the tireless fighter launched In Pursuit With John Walsh, an ID series in which he and his son, Callahan Walsh, showcase unsolved violent crimes in which time is of the essence.

After In Pursuit premiered, John Walsh stated, “If at least one child comes home and one homicide is solved, we will have done our job. Now, with the help of the passionate fans at Investigation Discovery and my team, we have a greater chance of catching these bad guys once and for all.” [CrimeFeed]

Catch up on Investigation Discovery's In Pursuit With John Walsh on ID GO now!

Brooklyn Dad Reportedly Took A Bullet To Protect His Daughter From Masked Attackers

BROOKLYN, NY — The NYPD reported in January 2019 that Phillip Scarlett was at his girlfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn when he heard his 14-year-old daughter, Tyra, cry out for help in the hallway.

Reportedly, then, Scarlett bolted out the door and saw two masked men attacking Tyra. According to Janet Howell, the girl’s mother, “He came out and realized what was going on, and he grabbed her and tossed her in the house and he was struggling to keep them out of the house. They yanked him down the stairs and shot him.”

Police said they believe robbery was the likely motive and the investigation is ongoing. [WCBS]

Family Stands By Dad Accused Of Using Deadly Force Against Man Who Allegedly Tried To Enter His Daughter's Bathroom Stall

PHOENIX, AZ — On August 3, 2018, according to police, Melvin Harris, 40, stopped at QuikTrip convenience store so his 16-year-old daughter could grab a drink and use the restroom.

While Harris waited in front, authorities said, a man approached and asked him for money. Harris reportedly obliged and then watched the man go into the store. He has since been identified as Leon Armstrong, 26.

Upon entering the QuikTrip himself, Harris reportedly found out that his daughter had told a store security guard that the same man attempted to enter a bathroom stall while she was using it.

Back outside, police allege, Harris confronted Armstrong and the two engaged in a physical altercation. Harris reportedly caused so much damage that Armstrong died four days later from the injuries.

Cops reportedly picked up Harris for assault, but in the wake of Armstrong’s demise, he now faces second-degree murder charges.

Regardless, Harris’s family is standing by him, maintaining that the father of six and grandfather of two was just trying to keep his loved one safe. [People]

Minnesota Dad Reportedly Rescues 7-Year-Old Daughter From Naked Airbnb Guest

MINNETONKA, MN — In February 2018, Derrick Aaron Kinchen, 28, was allegedly found naked in bed with a seven-year-old girl in a home where he was staying as an Airbnb guest.

Reportedly, the child’s father walked in on the incident and yelled, prompting the suspect to grab his jacket and wallet and flee. Later, officers reported finding Kinchen crouching in a parked fishing boat nearby where he was “naked except for a suit coat.”

According to arrest documents, the father said that when he happened upon Kinchen, “his penis was erect.” Later, the little girl alleged that Kinchen whispered in her ear that he “wanted her to keep a secret from her mom and dad.” She also claimed he was touching himself and pulled down her underpants.

In May 2018, Kinchen reportedly pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation. [CrimeFeed]

Quick-Draw Dad Blasts Back At Masked Gunman Who Was Allegedly Shooting Up A McDonald's

BIRMINGHAM, AL — A masked gunman reportedly stepped inside a Birmingham McDonald’s in October 2018 and opened fire, according to police.

Instead of the incident escalating into a mass shooting, though, authorities say a dad who was exiting the store with his two sons stopped the rampage by firing back at the suspect and hitting him. The gunman reportedly later died from his injuries.

After an investigation, police ruled the dad’s deadly use of a firearm to be justified.

McDonald's employee Markus Washington also thanked the man, telling WBRC, “He’s my hero, because I can only imagine how it would’ve went if he wasn’t armed. We might not be here." [CrimeFeed]

Cops: Dad Detains Carjacker Who Terrorized Family & Threatened His 13-Year-Old Daughter’s Life

MILLBURN, NJ — While a family was unloading luggage from a car trip in 2018, authorities say, Ahmed Anthony, 29, and an accomplice confronted the father and his 13-year-old daughter, announcing that they were going to rob them.

One of the suspects allegedly put the girl in a choke-hold and yelled, “Give me your keys, or I will kill your daughter.” The dad reportedly handed the keys to one of the suspects, who then drove off in the family’s Range Rover.

Still holding the daughter, Anthony allegedly demanded that the father get the keys for the family’s other SUV that was parked in the driveway. The man reportedly retrieved the other keys from inside the house and gave them to Anthony, who released the daughter.

After whisking the girl inside, the dad reportedly came back out with a handgun and ordered Anthony to get out of his vehicle and lie flat on the ground.

Responders showed up and Ahmed Anthony has reportedly been sentenced to 14 years in prison. [NorthJersey.com]

Dad’s FaceTime Call Saves 5-Year-Old Daughter Trapped Inside Car With Drunk Florida Woman, Police Say

ODESSA, FL — After returning home from work to find his five-year-old daughter missing in August 2018, a Florida man reportedly called a phone belonging to Sarah Nisse, 30, which he suspected would be in the child’s vicinity.

Sure enough, police said, the little girl picked up. She allegedly told her dad that Nisse had taken her out for a ride in her car, but now was asleep in the front seat.

The father said he then used FaceTime to figure out where the vehicle was and rescue his daughter. He told the press, "I was able to video chat with her and kind of get an idea of where they were. I Googled it and mapped it based on some of the stuff that was on the door, and I found them."

Authorities reportedly confirmed that the man was the child’s father, but they did not release the details of either of their relationships to Nisse.

According to Nisse’s arrest report, her breathalyzer tests indicated blood-alcohol levels of .276 and .272, more than three times the legal limit of .08.

The report additionally states, “Fire rescue was able to wake Sarah up through pain stimuli. Sarah did not speak and only raised her middle finger when Fire Rescue was tending aid.” [Tampa Bay Times]

L.A. Dad Seen On Video Pushing Daughter Out Of Path Of Speeding Car, Taking The Hit

LOS ANGELES, CA — In March 2019, dramatic video went viral that reportedly depicted dad Michael DeVore pushing his 11-year-old daughter Rien out of the way of a recklessly speeding Toyota Camry, which plows into the heroic father instead. The driver then allegedly just kept going.

Recalling the moment he took action, Devore told a reporter, “I saw a car coming at a high rate of speed, and I realized within that instant there was no time to think of a plan of action. It was react now or it's going to happen.”

The impact reportedly launched Devore into the air, causing him to break both legs when he landed. He spent the next three months laid up in bed, and he reportedly still may require a knee replacement.

The LAPD continue to look for the accused hit-and-run motorist. She is described as a white woman, about 60 to 65 years old, with gray hair and a heavy build. Police said the Camry had a disability license plate.

In the end, Devore said, “I’m not a hero, I’m just a dad. I just did what I was supposed to do.” [WGN]

Phoenix Dad Chased Down Accused Carjacker To Save 2-Year-Old Girl: Cops

PHOENIX, AZ — In March 2019, Ernaldo Varela told police he was driving past a supermarket parking lot when, allegedly, he saw Cynthia Gracia, 15, distracting an elderly man while her boyfriend, Joe Valezquez, 26, drove off in the man's car — which had the man's two-year-old granddaughter in the back seat.

Being a father himself, Varela reportedly said, “I instantly snapped! And, you know, I ran after him. When I heard he was trying to take a baby, I could not let him get away.”

Authorities say the suspect pulled the car over and attempted to flee on foot, but Varela chased him down. The two men reportedly got into a physical confrontation, during which Velazquez allegedly sliced open Varela’s finger with a knife. The wound later allegedly required seven stitches.

Police also allege that Gracia attempted to get away by breaking into a nearby home, but the owner’s 14-year-old granddaughter grabbed the accused intruder by the hair and held her down for the police. [KPNX]