Standing your ground in Georgia, knowing the facts

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Debbie Cook always has her keys ready to go in a parking lot, but not just for turning on the car.

"Usually I have them between my fingers, so if somebody does come toward me and tries to attack me, I have some sort of way to protect myself."

But protecting yourself can come into question when the law gets involved. Richmond County Sheriff's Deputies say you can "stand your ground" by law in Georgia.

Lt. Lewis Blanchard said, "You certainly have the right to defend yourself. You have the right to stand your ground VS. fleeing and running away from someone. That's basically what it states"

But Lt. Blanchard warns, there's a difference between protecting and pursuing.

"An example would be: If somebody comes up to attack you, they have a knife and you have to use deadly force, that most likely would be justified. However, if they grab your purse or your wallet and you shoot them as they're running away from you, that most likely won't be covered. If they're running away from you, there is no immediate danger or harm. The person is fleeing and you're trying to stop them from stealing your property."

He says when a robber wants your property, throw it in the opposite direction of where you're standing.

"Give them what they want in one direction and you run in the other direction."

Cook says she's keeping her eyes open for everything.

"I survey the area before I get there. I park as close to the building as I can. That's about all I can do."

All she can do to stay safe.