Ex-Omaha weatherman accused of targeting health director

Author: AP
Capt. Wayne Hudson of the Douglas County Sheriff’s office speaks at a news conference in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, April 1, 2020, to announce that Ronald Penzkowski a former director of communications for then-Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle a decade ago, was arrested on suspicion of making terroristic threats and stalking. Investigators say that Penzkowski sent at least 15 email messages to Dr. Adi Pour, Douglas County Health Director, threatening to “lynch” her and to cut her throat. The emails made reference to public health measures, such as stay-at-home orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A former Omaha TV weatherman and spokesman for a former mayor has taken a plea deal months after being accused of emailing death threats to a local health department director over her handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ronald Penzkowski, 57, pleaded no contest Friday to two misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, the Omaha World-Herald reported Monday. He initially had been charged with a felony count of making terroristic threats.

Penzkowski was arrested March 31 after investigators said he sent several emails to Dr. Adi Pour, director of the Douglas County Health Department. The emails threatening to “lynch” Pour and slit her throat and cited Pour’s public health measures and recommendations for residents to stay home to help slow the spread of the virus, investigators said.

Authorities said Penzkowski tried to disguise the origin of the emails, but a forensics team was able to trace them to Penzkowski and a cellphone he owned.

Penzkowski served director of communications for former Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle a decade ago. Before that, he worked as a meteorologist at two different Omaha television stations under the name Ron Gerard.

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