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Former Omaha meteorologist accused of threatening health director over coronavirus measures
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Former Omaha meteorologist accused of threatening health director over coronavirus measures

Douglas County sheriff's deputies arrested a former Omaha TV meteorologist Tuesday for allegedly threatening to slit the throat of Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour.

Prosecutors charged Ronald Penzkowski, who went by the name Ron Gerard at KPTM and KETV, with terroristic threats Tuesday. 

Sheriff's Capt. Wayne Hudson said Pour had received about 15 threatening and disturbing emails that "threatened to lynch her and to slit her throat" over her involvement in the COVID-19 response in Douglas County, including stay-at-home orders.

He said the sheriff's office tracked the emails to a cellphone belonging to Penzkowski. 

Hudson said investigators arrested him at his home Tuesday after serving a search warrant there and finding evidence consistent with the emails that had been sent to Pour. 

Officials did not specify whether the messages indicated the sender believed that the measures went too far or not far enough.

Sheriff Tom Wheeler said Pour has had difficult decisions to make, as have the Douglas County board, city council, mayor and governor. 

"They must be able to make those decisions without fear of physical harm or any other form of intimidation. And they make those decisions with one common goal and that is to protect the public," he said. 

Wheeler said they take these threats seriously.

Penzkowski remained in jail Wednesday and was set to make his first court appearance on the felony Thursday.  

After leaving TV news, Penzkowski worked as director of communications for former Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle until October 2010.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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