Amid the chaos after the storming of the school, there was confusion about the fate of the hostage-takers.
Some of the attackers reportedly fled south and took refuge in a nearby house, where they were surrounded by special forces and killed.
Russian authorities later said special forces killed all but one of a total of 32 attackers. Some people in Beslan say there were more attackers.
The surviving gunman, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, was found hiding under a truck a short distance from the school.
Several other attackers fled to the school's basement, where they were killed in a gunfight, investigators say.