Police continue to search for a suspect in the city’s first murder of the year, while friends of the victim grieve a young father.

Kenny Ashton is still in shock that his friend James Willits - a devoted dad to a little girl – died after being attacked in his apartment.

“I got the call early in the morning and it was too surreal, I couldn't feel that it was true. It just kept coming in through social media and then I kind of had to deal with it. It's been hard,” he says.

Police were called to Willits’ apartment at 297 Base Line Road West on Monday morning. He was found sufferering from severe head trauma and was rushed to hospital, where he later died.

Willits leaves behind a four-year-old daughter that Ashton says was his little princess.

“He loved his daughter very much. Just to know that his life was cut short and all the things that he is going to miss, is very hurtful with me and (to) a lot of his friends and family that know James.

Willits’ friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for funeral costs and a trust fund for his daughter.

Ashton says its overwhelming to see the support they have received already for a friend he will miss dearly.

“He had his own character that was like no other. He was just a great guy to be around,” he says.

Police are still searching for 22-year-old Steven Antone, a suspect.

He is of First Nations descent, 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds. He has short brown hair and brown eyes.

Police are asking the public not to approach Antone as he is dangerous.