Peter Burton, the 25-year-old messenger and musician who was beaten and then shot in the head early Christmas morning when he surprised two burglars in his Northwest Washington home, died Saturday at Washington Hospital Center.

Mr. Burton had been listed in critical condition at the hospital since undergoing surgery to remove bone and bullet fragments from his brain and jaw. D.C. police said last night there had been no arrests in the case.

A native of England, Mr. Burton was born and reared in Harpenden, an urban district near London. He came to the United States and settled in Washington about 4 1/2 years ago, after finishing school and traveling around Europe for about two years.

Since then, he had worked as a messanger for delivery services in Arlington. He had worked for Arlington Courier Enterprises since October.

A musician, Mr. Burton played drums with a local rock and blues group called the Basement Boogie Band. The band performed at local clubs and recently appeared at a benefit show for the Rape Crisis Center in Adelphi. He also played piano and lead guitar.

Survivors include his father, Philip L. Burton of Harpenden, a sister, Christine Sanders of London, and a grandfather and grandmother, both of England.