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Murder Warrant Issued for “Armed and Dangerous” Massachusetts Air Force Vet Suspected of Gunning Down Wife

“He just robbed my nieces and nephews of a fantastic mom and robbed me of a sister and everybody else of their friend,” Breanne Pennington's sister, Brooke Pertile, said of her brother-in-law, Aaron Pennington.


By Dorian Geiger
A selfie of Breanne Pennington.

A murder warrant has been issued for an “armed and dangerous” military veteran who’s accused of fatally shooting his wife in their family home this week.

Aaron Pennington was charged with murder in Gardner District Court in Massachusetts, according to the Associated Press, as the homicide investigation and search for him continues. 

A manhunt has been underway for Pennington, 33, since his wife was found shot to death at the couple’s house in Gardner, about 67 miles northeast of Boston, on Sunday. 

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Police found Breanne Pennington, 30, unresponsive in the back of her home at 42 Cherry St. in Gardner on Sunday, October 22 around 9:14 a.m. after receiving reports of a disturbance. She’d been shot in the face, according to CBS News. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, police said her husband Aaron had vanished and was wanted for questioning.

Officials have cautioned that Aaron may be “armed and dangerous.” On Monday night, his abandoned 2013 BMW 320i sedan with military veteran plates was located in a wooded area at Camp Collier in Gardner, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office announced.

A white 2013 BMW Model 320 that Aaron Pennington is believed to be driving.

The site, which is home to a 585-acre Boy Scout camp, was searched by K9 units and helicopters. "Search operations in furtherance of the ongoing investigation resume at that location today," Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said on Tuesday.

Gardner officials also ordered residents in the vicinity of Pennington’s home to shelter-in-place on Monday but the warning was lifted hours later by Mayor Michael J. Nicholson. Pennington is described as six-feet-two inches tall and weighing 175 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. 

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It’s unclear if Breanne and Aaron’s four children were at the property at the time of the deadly shooting. Authorities said the couple’s kids left the property on Sunday and went to the home of a neighbor, who called 911. Initial police reports said the children “could not find their father and their mother was in her bedroom crying." 

“Can’t go there either,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said at a press conference of the whereabouts of the Penningtons' children at the time of the incident. “It’s just too soon in the investigation.”

The children, who were not harmed, have since been placed in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, officials said. 

A police handout of Aaron Pennington

The couple was experiencing suspected marital issues shortly before Breanne was shot, according to witness interviews and surveillance footage cited by authorities, per NBC News. Court documents released Monday also stated that Breanne had planned to move to Texas with the couple’s children and that they’d been having relationship troubles “for quite some time,” CBS News reported.

According to reports, neither Aaron or Breanne had a firearms license, however, Breanne often kept a gun at the home for self-defense, police said.

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Aaron was a senior supervisor at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, according to his LinkedIn profile. His profile also lists his experience as a "special missions aircraft maintainer" for the U.S. Air Force. He described himself as a "Father, and Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

Breanne’s family is now struggling to cope with her sudden and unexpected death. They said Aaron had previously struggled with mental health issues. 

"I know [Aaron] has some mental health issues that [Breanne] tried to get him to get help for, but he just wouldn’t," Breanne's sister, Brooke Pertile, told NBC Boston. "He just robbed my nieces and nephews of a fantastic mom and robbed me of a sister and everybody else of their friend.”

Anyone with information in the case is urged to contact the Gardner Police Department at 978-632-5600 or Massachusetts State Police at 508-829-8236.

Originally published Oct 24, 2023.

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