Police said the man suspected of hijacking a bus on Monday evening, killing all on board, was a 30-year-old asylum seeker from South Sudan whose
application had been rejected and who was due to be deported.
Fire fighters and medical personnel were first to arrive on the scene, ahead of police, and used a fire extinguisher to disable him.
At the time of the attack the nearest police patrol was 55 miles (90 kilometres) away and it took an hour and a quarter for them to arrive.
That fact has re-awakened criticism of the police which surfaced after the brutal massacre carried out by the right wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik
on July 21, 2011.
"The reaction time seems to be long, seeing as the fire brigade and ambulances were the first at the scene. That's troubling," Arild Ingar Laegreid, the mayor of Aardal, said on Norwegian television.
Medical personnel took a quarter of an hour to alert the police, who then took a 25 mile detour to the crime scene — first thought to be a traffic accident — as they wrongly thought the most direct route was impassable due to weather conditions.
Breivik killed 69 young Labour Party members on the island of Utøya on a 75-minute shooting rampage which was preceded by a bomb attack killing eight
in central Oslo.
The police came under intense scrutiny at the time for reacting too slowly to the killings.
Since arriving in power last month, Norway's new centre-right government has promised to increase police resources and step up security in the country.
One election promise high on the agenda of conservative prime minister Erna Solberg was reorganising the police and improving their reaction times.