Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks was struck in chest by fireworks mortar

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks said a fireworks mortar shell hit him in the chest during an incident Sunday that killed him in Novi, Michigan.

Oakland County chief medical examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic told the Dispatch on Tuesday that Kivlenieks sustained "extensive" external injuries plus fatal injuries to his heart and lungs.

"Matiss Kivlenieks was struck by the mortar shell in the left side of his chest," Dragovic said.

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According to Novi Police Lt. Jason Meier, Kivlenieks was trying to escape from a hot tub along with other people after a mortar tube tilted toward them and fired.

Meier said the first round went over their heads and the second exploded "in the vicinity" of Kivlenieks, who fell out of the tub and hit his head on cement. Police initially believed the fall is what killed the 24-year old goalie, but Dragovic said there was no head trauma.

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A source initially told the Dispatch on Sunday that Kivlenieks' cause of death was a firework that struck him, and reports of him being struck in the chest were published in his home country of Latvia. Dragovic's assessment confirms those reports.

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