Brian Eik is a nice, polite 11-year-old who mowed his neighbor’s lawn and took bike rides with his dad. He comes from a family where everything seemed right, a neighbor said Sunday.
But on Saturday night, Brian Eik was in a place that wasn’t right. He was in a GMC Yukon parked on an isolated stretch of Vicari Road dialing 911 from a cellular phone at 10:17 p.m. He told a dispatcher he’d been shot by his mother, said Lt. Jim Finke, with the Spokane County Sheriff’s department.
About 20 minutes later, sheriff’s deputies found Brian alive. He had a bullet hole in his upper right chest. His mother and younger brother were in the Yukon, dead from gunshot wounds.
“We are treating this as a homicide and still investigating,” Finke said that night. The Sheriff’s Department didn’t release any more information Sunday. Brian Eik was in stable condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
To the Eiks’ neighbor, Gil Horstman, the tragedy on Vicari Road is unexplainable.
“Right now, I can hardly believe something like this could happen,” Horstman said.
Horstman and his wife, Clara, have lived across the street from Ed and Debbie Eik in the comfortable Ponderosa neighborhood for about five years.
“They just seemed like - in my mind at least - a pretty pleasant, happy, normal family,” Horstman said.
Brian Eik mowed Horstman’s lawn over the summer and was curious about the older man’s hobby of flying model airplanes. Horstman would see Brian and his dad riding bikes together. He knew the Eiks had a rule that Brian and his younger brother, Brandon, always had to wear helmets when they were on wheels.
Horstman said he isn’t close friends with the Eiks, but they were good neighbors. Ed Eik would use a snow plow to clear Horstman’s driveway in the winter. During the summer, Ed and Debbie would keep their yard looking immaculate.
“They set a pretty high standard for a neighbor across the street,” Horstman said. “(Ed) was always very cordial.”
And Debbie Eik asked Horstman’s wife if she wouldn’t mind watching Brandon once in a while after he came home from school - at least on those days when Brandon’s grandmother couldn’t care for him.
Other days, Ed Eik took his youngest son with him to work at the motorcycle shop he owned in the afternoon after the boy’s morning classes, Horstman said.
On Saturday, Horstman and his wife saw Debbie back out of her driveway in the Yukon. The older couple waved. They may have been the last people besides her children to see her alive.
“There was sure no reason to believe there were any problems,” Horstman said. “They were, really to our knowledge, very nice people. We never had any reason to believe there were any difficulties in the family at all.”