Police say the shooting happened Thursday night in the girl's home. The preschooler was hospitalized and is expected to recover.
Investigators say the parents told police the girl had been playing in the house, found the case that holds the gun and took it to her room. She then apparently opened the case, found the gun and accidentally shot herself in the thigh.
Sgt. Paul Parizek says the parents could face charges in the case.
The shooting remains under investigation.
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Des Moines police say a 4-year-old girl was shot in one of her legs after she found a handgun under her parents' bed.