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Senator: Capitol Police Working Without Pay Is a ‘National Disgrace’

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Capitol Police officers who sprang into action on Thursday during a shooting near the U.S. Capitol are among the hundreds of thousands of government employees being forced to work without pay during the government shutdown.

They are deemed essential personnel, but will not be paid until after the budget impasse is resolved.

“They will get paid eventually, but no paychecks until the government opens back up,” a top Senate aide told ABC News.

Thursday’s gunfire occurred after a female suspect attempted to ram the White House gates. What followed was a high-speed chase that ended at the U.S. Capitol, where shots were fired. The incident sent senators and staffers into their offices in the Capitol complex, which was put under a temporary lockdown.

As members of the House of Representatives returned to the chamber later Thursday afternoon to continue debating how to end the shutdown, several of them took to House floor to laud the Capitol Police force and other first responders.

In an interview with ABC News, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the situation a “national disgrace.”

Sgt. Terry Gainer, the Sergeant at Arms in the Senate and former chief of police, told ABC News that no Capitol Police officers were shot in the chaos. But there was a traffic injury involving a Capitol Police officer.

“There was a lot of confusion, but it does not appear any law enforcement officers were shot,” Gainer toldABC News.

Thursday’s incident ended at 2nd Street and Constitution Ave. N.E. — directly outside the Hart Senate Office building, about two blocks east of the Capitol.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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