Celebrity Vigilantes? Stars Crime-Fighting in Hollywood

Celebutante Nicky Hilton is the latest star to fight back against a criminal.

Feb. 26, 2009 — -- There are some celebrities you just don't want to push around.

Turns out celebutante Nicky Hilton is one of them. The hotel heiress was standing outside an IHOP in West Hollywood at 5 a.m. Saturday when a homeless man shoved her from behind onto the hood of a car.

When a waitress ran out to see what the commotion was, a Los Angeles sheriff's deputy, taking a coffee break inside IHOP, followed. By then, Hilton had matters in hand.

More angry than hurt, the waiflike 25-year-old "announced that she was placing the man under citizen's arrest," L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told ABCNews.com.

Police arrested the man, Michael Broadhurst, 50, cited him for misdemeanor battery and released him that afternoon.

Whitmore said Hilton did not take matters completely into her own hands, because a deputy was right there on the scene -- but she went further than many people would.

"A lot of times in those situations people don't want to prosecute," he said. "She was desirous of prosecution and we certainly concurred with that."

The news that Hilton is one tough cookie -- not to mention that she dines at IHOP -- may come as a surprise, but she is not alone. She joined other celebrity vigilantes who seemed unafraid to fight back when attacked.

Whether fending off a knife-wielding mugger or chasing down a hit-and-run driver, these celebrities seemed less concerned with being celebrities than with taking charge of the situation.

Gerald McCullouch

For nine seasons, McCullouch has played the ballistics expert on "CSI," but he said it was boxing training that saved him when a mugger attacked him with a knife on the New York subway in January.

McCullouch was riding the A train from Kennedy Airport to his New York apartment at 2 a.m. on Jan. 17.

"I ride the subway all day and all night," he told ABCNews.com, "and I never felt unsafe."

That night was no exception.

McCullouch, 41, noticed a couple of families with children break-dancing at one end of his car. So when his iPhone battery died, he didn't think too much of opening up his laptop to recharge it.

After three or four stops, however, the car's environment shifted, and McCullouch said he noticed a guy standing in front of him, just staring.

As the train doors opened, McCullouch said the guy lunged for his laptop. McCullouch, who had just finished three days of training with his boxing coach in Los Angeles, said he held on and gave the mugger a "body shot to the chest."

"I'm not saying it was a smart thing to do at all," he said. "But instinctively my body and consciousness were already in that defensive state of being.

"I started screaming, 'Get the f*** away from me," he added. "Either I punched or kicked him, and he backed up. That's when he pulled out a knife from a plastic bag, but it didn't register to me. The doors opened, and everybody ran out of the car. It was just me and him alone. I was determined to stay in his eyes and challenge him as much as could."

McCullough said the man lunged again for his laptop, this time trying to plunge the 10-inch long kitchen knife into his back. Fortunately, the knife did not penetrate his leather jacket, he said.

"When I felt the length of the knife, that's when it registered: That's a knife," he said. "That's when I went a little ballistic."

McCullough said he let the guy know "from my very core that he had no power over me." He said he punched him again just as the doors were closing.

The man tried to escape through the doors to the next car, but they were locked and the train started to pull away from the station, McCullough said.

Now, McCullough was locked inside the car, alone with the other man. But the man had run out of steam, McCullough said. The man sat at one end of the car, pulled out a vodka bottle and took a drink.

McCullough said he shouted at him, "You are f***ed."

When the guy stood up and brandished the knife, McCullough said, he told him, "Sit, the f*** back down."

McCullough said the train stopped before leaving the station, and a conductor came and ushered him out, leaving the other man. About 10 police officers then jumped on the train and handcuffed the guy, McCullough said.

At the 33rd Precinct, McCullough said he learned that his assailant, identified as James Torres, 39, 6'3" and 240 pounds, had a long arrest record and once allegedly had stabbed two officers.

When one of the officers recognized McCullough from his role on "CSI," he was asked to sign autographs and take pictures.

"It's just a very surreal experience, going from almost getting stabbed to being asked to take pictures and sign autographs," he said. "I'm very thankful it all resolved the way it did."

Drew Barrymore

Charlie would have been proud of his big-screen angel.

"Charlie's Angels" star Drew Barrymore said she was the victim of a hit-and-run car accident last spring, but rather than stay put, she chased down the other driver and copied down his license plate.

Barrymore was at an intersection in Los Angeles when she was rear-ended just before noon on May 12, 2008, she told Jay Leno when she appeared on his show last October.

"This really mean jerk rear-ends me really hard. He proceeds to scream at me, flip me off, yell obscenities and then take off," she said. "And I was like, 'Oh no, you don't.' And I took off after him. I sped and I ran and I chased."

She said she caught up with him in a shopping center parking lot.

"I ripped open [my] door and I said, 'What are you thinking?'" she said.

When the man cursed at her again and went into a store, Barrymore said she copied down his license plate number and called the police.

Although she declined to press charges, she felt good that she had made her point.

"At least I stood up to the guy. I didn't take it," she told Leno.

"Or I'm just totally crazy," she added. "Other friends have said that was maybe not the smartest approach."

At the time of the incident, sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Kristin Aloma told the Associated Press that following someone after an accident was "dangerous."

However, she added that getting a license plate number is a major key to identifying a potential hit-and-run driver.

All in all, nice work, Angel!

Tim McGraw

Apparently, country singer McGraw is a real cowboy.

In a video posted on YouTube, when a large man seemed to harass a woman in the crowd at McGraw's Auburn, Wash., concert last June, the singer shouted from the stage, "Get rid of the guy, security."

McGraw's representative released a statement at the time describing the incident, according to reports: "A man rushed to the front of the stage. This overly aggressive fan (in proverbial wife-beater t-shirt) attacked a female fan, and Tim witnessed this incident. Tim called for security but when they could not respond quick enough, Tim and several crew members removed the fan from the audience. He was then turned over to the local authorities."

The YouTube video shows security trying to haul the man away. But when the man tried to charge McGraw, security held him back and McGraw brandished a cocked fist at him.

McGraw then resumed singing, "Indian Outlaw."

Ray Davies

Not every celeb vigilante situation ends well.

Davies, the lead singer of the classic British rock band The Kinks, was with a female companion in New Orleans in January 2004, when two men approached them and grabbed the woman's purse, The Associated Press reported.

Davies gave chase and was shot in the thigh.

He was treated at a local hospital and released in good condition.

Police managed to arrest one of the suspects.