GARDNER, Mass. – A mother was preparing to leave Massachusetts for Texas with her four children amid ongoing marital discord. Sadly, she is now dead — the victim of a brutal murder — and her husband is on the run trying to evade law enforcement authorities.
Breanne Pennington, 30, was shot in the face at the family home on Cherry Street in the City a Gardner, a medium-sized town located in Worcester County. Her 33-year-old husband, Aaron Pennington, is accused of killing the woman Sunday morning and is now the subject of a statewide manhunt, according to the Massachusetts State Police.
“He should be considered armed and dangerous,” the state police said in a Monday press release. “Any member of the public who sees Pennington or the vehicle is directed to not approach him but rather, to call 911 immediately.”
Breanne was found by responding officers in an upstairs bedroom with a gunshot wound to her face, according to an application for a criminal complaint obtained by WCVB.
The grim discovery was made after the couple’s four children — ages 2, 5, 7 and 9 — went to a neighbor’s house to ask for help, the document states.
“Four children came over to her house scared because they could not find their father and their mother was in her bedroom crying,” court documents read. “The four children were known to reside with their parents at 42 Cherry Street in the city of Gardner. The children also stated that their father’s vehicle was no longer in the residence’s driveway.”
During a Sunday press conference, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early said, “We’re concerned. Everyone should be on alert.” He added, “The children are safe.”
State police said the husband left the home at about 8:50 a.m. driving a white 2013 BMW 320. The car was discovered late Monday afternoon at a Boy Scout camp in Gardner, CBS News reported, but Pennington was not in the vehicle.
Breanne Pennington was shot and killed in their Cherry Street home on Sunday. Aaron Pennington is on the run. (Breanne Pennington/Facebook)
In the latest development in the search Monday, Gardner police issued a shelter-in-place order for residents near part of the city that is heavily wooded, the Gardner News reported.
People close to the family told investigators that Breanne wanted to move to Texas with the children, a plan that didn’t sit well with Aaron, reported Law&Crime.
“She didn’t deserve it,” Chelsea Lowe, one of Breanne’s friends from high school, told WCVB. “She was such a good mother and such a good wife. She was saving up money and Aaron was obviously aware that she was gonna leave.”
According to court documents, “Aaron Pennington suffered from mental health issues and had threatened suicide.”
The Daily News reported that Aaron is a military veteran. The news outlet said he served in the U.S. Army. However, neighbors said he served in the U.S. Air Force.