Two young girls tragically found dead in an Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day are being remembered as fun-loving sisters with hearts of gold.

The bodies of Chloe Berry, 6, and her sister Aubrey, 4, were found in an apartment near the Oak Bay Marina when police responded to a report of an incident around 5 p.m. Monday.

CTV News has learned their father, Andrew Berry, was found with undisclosed injuries and taken to hospital where he remained Wednesday.

The incident is being investigated as a possible double homicide and attempted suicide.

Police haven't confirmed the identity of the injured man, but said he wasn't being held in custody. They said they aren't looking for additional suspects and the public is not at risk.

Family friend Trisha Lees said the girls spent Christmas morning with their father. He was supposed to bring them to their mother, Sarah Cotton, by noon.

"Sarah went to the police station when the daughters were not delivered back to her. We were at the police station," said Lees.

She was emotional as she spoke about the girls, who she said "encapsulated life. They had such pure hearts."

People living in the building said they were shocked upon finding out what happened on a day usually full of celebration and joy.

"A bit of shock and sadness because it's Christmas and we're supposed to be happy and blessed," said resident Diane MacRae.

Those who saw the young girls and their father around the building said they seemed playful and nice.

"Dad and kids, they seemed happy. The kids, I saw them the other day. They were playing and happy," said resident Chris-Ann Lake.

Bitter custody battle

According to court documents, the parents had been embroiled in a bitter custody dispute a year before the tragedy.

A judge heard Cotton's concerns that Berry had behaved aggressively toward her, including one incident that resulted in his arrest in 2013.

He allegedly jumped on Cotton and pinned her to their bed, prompting his arrest and a peace bond that dictated he stay away from the girls and their mother.

That was later revised to allow Berry to spend one-on-one time with his daughters.

Cotton also expressed concerns about his parenting, and at one point the Ministry of Children and Families became involved.

Despite those concerns, Hon. Madam Justice Gray concluded in her reasons for judgment that it was "in the best interests of the girls to have significant parenting time with the father."

Lees said the deaths have left the girls' mother without any parents, siblings or children.

"We're all just heartbroken for Sarah and for ourselves too," she said. "It's just the worst thing to possibly have to say to people and very unbelievable, I think."

Makeshift memorial, vigil held

On Wednesday, bouquets of flowers could be seen near police tape cordoning off the building in a memorial to the two girls.

A vigil was also hosted at the school Chloe attended as a Grade 1 student, Christ Church Cathedral.

"I just want to say it's a terrible, deep and jagged tragedy that we're all facing," said Principal Stuart Hall. "We have councillors on site and then as the days and weeks unfold, we will re-examine what needs to be put in place for our families."

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen released a statement saying the tragedy has shaken the community to its core.

"There are no words to express the sadness we feel for the loss of these two young girls and how to truly comfort the profound grief of their family," said Jensen.

He said a public candle-light vigil will be held on Willows Beach Saturday at 7 p.m. to honour the victims.

The girls' cause of death has not been confirmed.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is investigating the deaths and said it expected to have officers on scene at the apartment for the remainder of the week.