TERRELL— Former Kaufman County District Attorney Louis “Bill” Conradt Jr. killed himself as police tried to serve an arrest warrant for soliciting sex with a minor, authorities said.

Conradt, 56, was chief felony assistant attorney for Rockwall County at the time of his death Sunday.

Police forced their way into Conradt’s Terrell home after hearing a gunshot when he refused to answer the door, a police spokesman said. The officers found Conradt with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He later died at a hospital in Dallas, about 30 miles west of Terrell.

Police in the town of Murphy in nearby Collin County said Conradt had solicited sex from a decoy posing online as a 13-year-old. Murphy police were attempting to serve an arrest warrant and a search warrant for Conradt’s computer when he shot himself, Murphy Police spokesman Sgt. Snow Robertson said.

The sting was reportedly a joint operation between Perverted Justice, an Internet watchdog group, and NBC’s news magazine “Dateline.” The sting lured men seeking sex with children to a house in Murphy, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas.

Murphy police said Conradt had not gone to the house but believed he would.

Robertson said there was nothing police could to do prevent Conradt’s death, which happened while an NBC crew waited outside on the street.

“When somebody decides to do this, there is nothing you can do,” he said.

There had been no contact between “Dateline” and Conradt, according to an NBC statement to the newspaper.

Conradt was Kaufman County’s elected district attorney for more than two decades before resigning in 2002 to run for a judgeship. He lost and later took the Rockwall County job.

Murphy Mayor Bret Bishop told reporters that he hopes Murphy won’t be used again as a trap for child predators.

“We’re going to do whatever we need to do to make sure this doesn’t continue,” he said. “I think it’s a noble cause, but our police department is hired to serve and protect our citizens, and not to expose them to outside threats.”

Perverted Justice made reference to the case on its Web site Monday morning.

“In a quasi-related case during the serving of search and arrest warrants on those who did not arrive, Assistant District Attorney Louis W. Conradt Jr., of Rockwall County, Texas. was one of the individuals during the sting that solicited one of our decoys sexually,” the web site stated. “While he did not come to the sting house, his home along with others was served by search and arrest warrants...It is unfortunate that he chose this end rather than to have his day in court.”

Despite the objections of sting-house neighbors, the watchdog group feels that the operations are worthwhile.

“We're very pleased with the results of this sting operation, we'd like to thank the Murphy Police Department and all other law enforcement units, city, county and state, who helped make this large-scale sting possible. We have now aided the arrest of over 260 people just thus far in 2006 alone. This sting was filmed by Dateline NBC for a future episode of ‘To Catch a Predator,’ we will announce the air-date as soon as one is decided upon.”

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