Shelter-in-place order lifted after search for Gardner man wanted for questioning in wife’s murder

GARDNER, Mass. — Gardner police lifted the shelter in place near Kelton Street after hours of searching for Aaron Pennington, the man wanted for questioning in connection with his wife’s murder.

“Following an exhaustive search conducted by the Gardner Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police, the area has been deemed to be safe with no threat to public safety,” city officials announced around 10 p.m. “Out of an abundance of caution, a police presence will remain stationed in the area throughout the night and tomorrow. Again, the area has been deemed safe by the police and the shelter-in-place has been lifted.”

Gardner Police issued the shelter in place nearly four hours ago, after they found the car believed to have been driven by Aaron Pennington, who is wanted by authorities for questioning in the death of his wife, 30-year-old Breanne Pennington.

The shelter-in-place was for people in the area of Kelton, Wheeler, Raymond, and Stone streets. The heavily wooded area is in the northeastern part of the city near the Ashburnham town line.

Camp Collier is a 585-acre Scout camp in Gardner near the town line with Ashburnham. The area is owned by the Monadnock Trust.

Pennington’s white 2013 BMW 320 sedan, which he was last seen driving away from 42 Cherry Street on Sunday morning, has been located by authorities, prompting a shelter-in-place for residents who live near Kelton Street.

Police officers were called to the couple’s Cherry Street home around 9 a.m., Sunday and found Breanne Pennington dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the face in an upstairs bedroom, police wrote in their application for criminal complaint. Investigators did not locate a firearm, but they found three spent shell casings in the bedroom.

In the criminal complaint application, filed on Sunday, police are seeking to arrest Aaron Pennington for unlawfully possessing a firearm or ammunition.

The couple’s four young children were also found inside that home, and are now safe and in state custody, authorities said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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