NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - A picture of a smiling Dan Couchon was taken just hours before he was brutally beaten on a Northampton street last Sunday. On Wednesday, a swollen face covered in bruises defined the 25-year-old's profile.
"I look much better now," Couchon quipped, inside his Easthampton home.
But what happened to him is no laughing matter. He's still recovering from reconstructive surgery and will be for a month. "There are five different fractures on my face and I have a broken nose. So, that doesn't come from one punch," he said of the injuries left behind from the unprovoked attack.
Couchon was walking towards his car around 1 a.m. early Sunday morning; after leaving "King's Night," a popular gay-themed party hosted by The Bishop's Lounge.
"As soon as I walked out I was approached by this Hispanic guy that asked me where the party was, where the after party was," said Couchon.
And the exchange of words took a wrong turn, fast. "That's when he socked me, he hit me in the face, I fell to the ground and after that it was pretty much a blur," Couchon said.
Bars in Northampton close their doors at 1 a.m. but continue to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. Northampton Police say they received their first 911 call around 1:15 a.m. By the time they got to Strong Avenue, they found Couchon lying near his parked car, semi-conscious and covered in blood.
Couchon says the man who hit him wasn't alone. Witnesses say the perpetrator drove off in a light colored 4-door sedan with as many as three passengers. Shari Belden's son is a bouncer at The Tunnel Bar, across the street from Bishop's. He was the first to call 911.
"Michael stands up here and apparently saw the fight from up there, he then called police and told them everything he could say," said Belden on Strong Avenue Wednesday morning.
Information Belden said included the assailant's car's license plate number and issuing state. But Belden says police told her son it was a returned plate. Couchon hopes someone who may have witnessed the beating will come forward. So does his mother, who held back tears when remembering that night.
"It's heartbreaking to look at your son's face like that. It's so random and you question the safety of anyone walking alone in the city," said Couchon's mother, Justine, who believes the attack was targeted.
Police however are considering this a random act of violence. Anyone with information on this incident is being asked to call Northampton Police at 413-587-1105.
Northampton Police Detectives described the assailant as a Hispanic man. The suspect's car, a 4-door light colored Toyota or Honda, was described as not having a license place in the front of the car, but on the windshield.