The attacker, an unidentified African-American described as a homeless man by the Daily News, entered the building and, according to witnesses, asked for a book. He subsequently left but then returned and took out a switchblade, menacing a group of students before stabbing 22-year-old Levi Yitzchok ben Raizel of Betar Illit. Police arrived almost immediately and confronted the attacker inside the building. He initially dropped the knife but picked it up again as one of the policemen approached, causing the officer to open fire, wounding him. The assailant later died of his wounds. Although Yeshiva World News reported the incident as a hate crime, it is still unclear what motivated the attack.